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21.10.2012, 21:57
Podravka end Krim jinx as Budućnost and FTC shine
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The champions of 2011 Women´s EHF Champions League from Larvik defeated in Dabas, Hungary
 

Podravka end Krim jinx as Budućnost and FTC shine

Sunday’s second round Group Matches conjured another feast of top-level handball in the Women’s EHF Champions League, as Croatian champions Podravka Vegeta finally ended their barren run against Krim Mercator, their old rivals from Slovenia.

Ferencváros sent their noisy fans into raptures with a superb win against 2011 champions Larvik, while holders Budućnost Podgorica continued to impress with a youthful new-look team that took apart three-time winners Viborg for a second successive victory. Russians Dinamo Volgograd bounced back from a heavy defeat in the opening round with a comfortable win at Sweden’s Sävehof.

Group B
HC Podravka Vegeta vs Krim Mercator (SLO) 25:22 (14:11)

The regional derby featuring two teams from the former Yugoslavia had everything a jam-packed hall in Koprivnica could have hoped for, including Podravka’s first ever win against Krim after three defeats and a draw against their Slovenian rivals.

Croatia’s champions came out on top after making a better start and holding on to their lead despite a spirited effort by injury-hit Krim, who missed half a dozen or so players.

Podravka engineered an 8-5 lead midway through the first half but the visitors, whose Spanish dynamo Carmen Martin Berenguer was unstoppable throughout the match, bounced back to tie the score at 9:9 in the 20th minute. As both teams played in fits and starts, it was then Podravka’s turn to take the initiative and finish the first half on a high.

Their relentless pressure continued after the break, with Žana Čović and inspirational Serbian left back Sanja Damnjanović scoring with some ease to make sure there was no way back for the visitors. Podravka, lifted by the fervent support of 2,500 home fans, led 20:15 in the 40th minute and the writing was on the wall for Krim, who nevertheless did not roll over and kept trying to reduce the deficit.

Erratic play at either end followed as both teams kept committing turnovers and Krim seemed to get the better in a physical contest as they cut Podravka’s led to 23:20 in the thrilling climax. However, Damnjanović responded with two successive goals to dispel any possibility of a last-minute twist. Čović led the way for the home team with eight goals, Damnjanović added seven and captain Miranda Tatari, whose authority on the court was everywhere to be seen, chipped in with three.

Carmen Martin Berenguer topped the scoring for Krim with eight goals but ploughed a solitary lane as the next two highest scorers in her team, Susann Müller and Nina Wörz, mustered three each. Both teams now have two points, ahead of Cluj who have zero and behind group favourites Györ, who have a maximum four after the opening two games.  

Group C
IK Sävehof (SWE) vs Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) 28:34 (10:16)

Dinamo won the battle of the first-round losers, erasing the bitter memories of a thumping first-round defeat at home to FTC. Sävehof were also recovering from being beaten away to Larvik and the encounter in Partille produced a high-scoring game decided in the first half. The visitors led by six goals at the interval and maintained the advantage throughout the second half, with 22-year old Tatiana Khmyrova propelling them to victory with seven goals.

Valentina Goncharova added six, while Viktoriya Borshchenko, Kseniya Makeeva and Anastasiya Pidpalova netted four each. Ida Oden led Sävehof with seven goals, while Jenny Alm and Jamina Roberts contributed to her effort with five each.

The result means that Dinamo now have two points along with Larvik, who they meet in the next round in a potentially crucial match-up in the race for one of the two Main Round berths. Sävehof are bottom of the group with two defeats while Ferencváros proudly sit at the top after a comprehensive home win against Larvik.

FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Larvik (NOR) 28:24 (16:12)

Ferencváros proved their opening 37:21 win at Dinamo Volgograd was no fluke after producing an immaculate display of defensive steel and imaginative attacking to down 2011 EHF Champions League winners Larvik in style.

The designated match of the week fully lived up to its billing in Dabas, where a vociferous home crowd carried their team to a well-deserved victory against one of the competition’s favourites. Having won two successive Cup Winners´ Cup trophies, FTC now showed that adding the most coveted prize in women’s club handball may not be beyond them after all.

A rampant first half for Ferencváros was crucial in this clash of the titans, as the home side worked hard to carve out a six-goal advantage and led 15:9 in the closing stages of the opening period. Larvik responded with a three-goal blitz to haul themselves back into the match but then conceded a goal on the buzzer, when a free throw went over the wall and into the near corner of Cecilie Leganger’s net.

Melinda Pastrovics had a great game between the posts at the other end, saving 41 percent of the shots that came her way in total. Larvik did everything they could in a tit-for-tat battle to reduce the deficit but Ferencváros, roared on by their fans, held firm and celebrated a morale-boosting win which put them top of the group with four points.

Larvik’s Anja Edin was the game’s top scorer with seven goals, followed by three players on five: her team mate Koren Riegelhuth as well as FTC’s Zsuzsanna Tomori and Szandra Zácsik. Monika Kovacsicz and Nerea Pena Abaurrea scored four apiece for Ferencváros, as did Gro Hammerseng at the other end for Larvik.      

Group D
Viborg HK (DEN) vs Budućnost Podgorica (MNE) 20:26 (12:14)  

Budućnost entered this season with a new-look young team whose solitary ambition was to progress to the Main Round, but judging by their opening two performances they have every chance of reaching the semi-finals and even mounting a serious challenge to retain the trophy.

Their drubbing of Viborg came on the back of an equally impressive 29:21 home win over Zvezda Zvenigorod and apart from a maximum four points, they now also have a rising star of the EHF Champions League in Milena Knežević.

The efferevescent left back racked up her tally to 19 goals in the opening two matches this season after netting eight times against Viborg with a truly blistering performance.

The reigning champions got off to a flying start, taking a 5:3 lead in the early exchanges as Viborg struggled to cope with their quick movement and passing. The Danish side replied with three goals in a row as Budućnost had a player suspended for two minutes, but the Montenegrin giants were not to be overawed.

Knežević, a 22-year old prodigy who learnt the ropes last season alongside the likes of the now departed Katarina Bulatović and Bojana Popović, showed just why she is emerging into a world class player capable of taking her club and country to giddy heights in the future. The left back pierced through Viborg’s defence almost at will, scoring five goals in a rampant first half while she also fed Majda Mehmedović and Radmila Miljanić on either wing when she was double-teamed.

The visitors carved out a whopping 11:7 lead by the 23rd minute but line player Sabine Pedersen kept Viborg afloat with four goals in the opening period. The home side principally played well in offence but Clara Woltering, one of the few first-choice players to stay with Budućnost after last season’s triumph, was tremendous between the posts.

Anđela Bulatović carried on in the second half where she left off in the first, her wide repertoire of shots baffling Viborg’s goalkeeper and helping Budućnost to a 16:13 lead. However, Viborg closed their ranks in defence after the break and would have turned the match on its head by the 40th minute, but for a string of superb saves by Woltering.

Knežević too retained her momentum and kept tormenting Viborg with unpredicatble runs through the middle as well as on the flanks, netting her eighth goal to put Budućnost 21:19 ahead midway through the second half. Playing with incredible maturity for a side whose average age is under 21,  Budućnost romped to a five-goal lead in the 53rd minute after scoring three without reply to silence the home fans.

Then Anđela Bulatović, who had a breathtaking performance in the second half, capped her memorable afternoon with a pirouette which left the entire home team rooted to the spot and made the score 25:19 to Budućnost, who are now in the driving seat to reach the Main Round. In addition to Knežević’s game-high eight goals, Bulatović added six for the visitors while Isabelle Gulden and Sabine Pedersen led Viborg with five each.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br
 
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