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04.03.2012, 21:10
Oltchim in the semi-final
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In Group 1, FCM, Itxako and Larvik all have the chance to advance to the semi-final of the EHF Champions League.

»EHF CL Channel »2011-12 Women's CL
»Main Round
»
 

Oltchim in the semi-final

Oltchim ironed out their failures of the last two rounds, clearly winning against Krim, which meant that coach Radu Voina´s team advances to the semi-final.

In Group 1, semi-finalist Győr tied an exciting game with Itxako, whilst Larvik lost disappointingly against FCM. This means that all three of these teams still have chances to earn a semi-final berth, so next weekend will bring even more excitement in the closing duels of the Main Round.

One of the semi-final pairings is already set, as Győri Audi ETO will face Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea in April, with the Hungarians acting as hosts in the return match.

GROUP 1

Larvik (NOR) vs. FC Midtjylland (DEN) 20:27 (12:11)


Despite an early direct red card for FCM goalkeeper Sabine Englert, the away side turned a tight match, and thanks to their strong second-half performance, they outclassed the Norwegians in the Larvik Arena.

It was supposed to be a decisive moment in the seventh minute, and a great advantage for the hosts, when Englert received a direct red card after a foul on Tine Rusted Kristiansen, but the Danes fought hard and turned the match.

After Englert´s punishment coach Ryan Zingerlsen´s team was shocked and Larvik rallied with three straight goals to make it 5:2 resulting in an FCM time out.

The one-minute break worked well for the away side, as the Danes found their rhythm and reduced the gap minute-by-minute.

However Tonje Larsen and her team-mates had the right answer to the Danish improvement and coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad´s team increased the lead to 10:7.

FCM showed great strength though and with several marvelous goals Susan Thorsgaard and her colleagues took the lead again. 

Larvik fought back hard and at the half-time buzzer the Norwegians converted their last-gasp chance to snatch a one-goal lead.

In the second period the two teams with a high stake for the semi-final berth showed a competitive head-to-head performance. 

15 minutes before the end FCM suddenly brought a new dimension to their game, and with goals by Trine Østergaard and Nycke Groot, the Danes established a 20:17 lead. 

This gave them the incentive to fight even harder, as with a higher than four-goal victory Zinglersen´s team would suddenly move ahead of Larvik in the group.

The Norwegian spectators hoped that the hosts would give everything to decrease the difference to less than four goals, but this was not the case. 

FCM were strong in all aspects of the game, and were aided by an impressive seven goals from Fie Woller, and five more from Trine Østergaard. 

At the final buzzer the Danes held their arms aloft and started their big celebrations after their highly impressive away victory.

Győri Audi ETO (HUN) vs. Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra (ESP) 25:25 (11:13)

This thriller, that was the re-match of last year´s semi-final, ended as a draw. The result made the Hungarians the group winner, whilst Itxako, despite being without any victories so far in the Main Round, still have chances to reach the semi-final of the EHF Champions League.

As expected, coach Karl Erik Bøhn started with several players in his side´s starting line-up who were bench players in Győr´s previous games. 

Therefore, the away side had the better start in the match, taking a 3:1 lead after some nice goals by left-winger Naiara Egozcue. 

Supported by thousands of vociferous spectators in a sold-out Magvassy Mihály Arena, current top-scorer of the EHF Champions League, Anita Görbicz, continued her goal-scoring exploits, and with her clever 7 m executions the Hungarians turned the game to lead by 4:3.

However it was the Hungarian´s only lead in the first period, as the Itxako players fought for their lives in a do or die game for reaching a semi-final spot. 

Agile Sandy Barbosa and Carmen Martín were the key figures for the Spaniards as they firstly turned the score, and then increased the lead to 11:8. 

With Maja Zebić´s goal coach Ambros Martín´s team led for the first time with a four-goal difference, and that resulted in a Hungarian time out. 

It didn´t help the hosts much though, as Itxako, who played without the injured Macarena Aguilar, kept their lead after 30 minutes.

A determined Győri Audi ETO returned from the cabin and the difference quickly melted minute-by-minute. 

It was a tight head-to-head game, with Anita Görbicz giving the lead to her side and Itxako leveling the score.

The scoreboard showed for the first time a two-goal lead for the hosts, after Andrea Lekić ´s great distance strikes. 

15 minutes before the final whistle Itxako trainer Martín was forced to call a time out to implement some new plans.

Serbian international Lekić was her side´s main pillar and the best player in the last 20 minutes. She took responsibility for Győr´s attacking, taking on the role of centre-back.

However, with a shuffled squad, Itxako made a great fight-back, and goals from Patricia Pinedo and Maja Zebić meant a 24:22 lead for the Spaniards.

Audi ETO refused to give up though, as Bøhn ´s team wanted to maintain their fantastic 100% record in the Main Round. 

The highly impressive duo of Adrienn Orbán and Andrea Lekić were responsible for the hosts leveling the match.

Itxako´s Carmen Martín continued to score from 7 metres, but Lekić scored after a break-through to bring Győr level for the final time.

GROUP 2

C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) vs. RK Krim Mercator (SLO) 30:26 (17:15)


After Oltchim’s clear victory over Krim everything is decided in Group 2 about which two teams advance to the Top4. Oltchim joins Budućnost, whilst Krim and Metz are out of the competition.

After the fluctuations in the team´s last two matches, the Romanian champions were highly motivated from the early minutes on, and led 3:1 and 4:2 after five minutes.

The Slovenians, who needed a victory in Romania, responded in turn, trying to defend their last chance for a semi-final berth by catching-up to 7:6 after 10 minutes. 

Encouraged by over 3000 spectators and with an aggressive defence and a fantastic Huţupan Luminita Dinu in the goal, the Romanian champions increased their lead to 10:7 thanks to Ardean Elisei, who was unstoppable on the wing.

Krim operated with long distance shots and after a determined fight coach Tone Tiselj´s team equalized after 25 minutes to 12:12.

Oltchim´s coach Radu Voina immediately called a time out and complained bitterly about the poor assists of the preceding few minutes.

The players noted the instructions of their trainer and improved to 16:13, and then to a 17:15 lead after 30 minutes.

Krim returned with the intention of giving everything in the second half and the Slovenians leveled the match again. Despite this, it was the hosts who were wanting success more, and with Marija Jovanović´s great play, Oltchim established a four-goal lead again.

The support from the stands became louder and goalkeeper Huţupan gave a marvelous performance between the sticks. 11 minutes before the end, Oltchim were in a clear lead (27:20) again, and Elisei and her team-mates retained their advantage until the final buzzer.

Budućnost (MNE) vs. Metz Handball (FRA) 32:26 (15:9)

Budućnost continued their dominance in Group 2, celebrating a clear victory over French champions Metz, and they remain the only team in the Main Round with maximum points in the bank.

It was a one-sided affair from the very beginning, with the hosts taking an early lead that they increased minute-by-minute.

Metz, who were already out of the competition, were unable to answer and compete against the Montenegrin champions.

With this victory, the hosts will finish as group winner, but they need to wait one more week to discover who their semi-final opponent, from equal and open Group 1, will be.


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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