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13.02.2013, 15:30
Defending champions on brink of elimination, coach stays positive
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Adžić full of pride despite the second defeat of Podgorica, Gjekstad happy about the good start of Larvik.
 

Defending champions on brink of elimination, coach stays positive

After the first third of the Women´s EHF Champions League Main Round the defending champions seem to be a long shot of the race for the semi-finals tickets. Budućnost Podgorica are still waiting for first points in Group 1 and the next home match against Randers can virtually seal their fate unless they win.

In the previous round after nearly two years, Budućnost was defeated at home. Interestingly, it was the same team who beat the home side in “Morača” hall, after a win on 17 April 2011 (27:24), in the second semi-final leg of EHF Champions League. This time Larvik won with much harder (20:18), even if the Norwegian side was a big favorite in the match against the Montenegrin team, after half of the team who won the title left the team last summer.

Despite the second defeat in the Main Round, coach of Budućnost Dragan Adžić was not too disappointed, thanking the fans who, even though the weather was bad, came to support their team.

"I'm proud of the girls, as I was proud lot of times last season after victories. The way in which we lost the match we get a lot, in fact we have not lost anything, because we have shown that we can play with top team like Larvik, very experienced, which at the end made a difference.

"Larvik had more choice of quality players on the bench. We learned the lessons after the loss against Györi Audi ETO KC, we fixed all the things, and I'm proud and happy the way we played. We just need to keep this up and a bright future is certain for this generation,” Dragan Adžić said.

The competition´s top scorer Milena Knežević (four goals) did not play at her usual level in this season, while two right back Jelena Živković and Elena Gjorgijevska did not score a goal, so Budućnost had lot of effectivity problems at the back position.

Bbut thanks to the great defence the home team had a chance to win.

"Larvik has justified the role of favorites, but we are happy to have played much better than against Györi Audi ETO KC, especially the defence. In the final minutes we didn’t have enough luck and experience to bring to finish the game with a positive result. However, there are many positive things that we can draw from this game, we have only to continue work better and stronger.

"We are a young team, we have a very bright future, so I believe that the work we put in a few years will reach the peak", stated Anđela Bulatović, top scorer of Budućnost with five goals.

Larvik coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad remembered the last season’s defeat in Podgorica (23:13), in the EHF Champions League semi-final match.

“Last year we lost by ten goals, and of course now we are very happy. We have great respect for Budućnost, for what they have done in Champions League and as the national team of Montenegro. Everytime we come to Podgorica, we know it’s going to be hard, it’s difficult to win in Morača hall.

"Of course, we are very happy because this win, two points from this game are very important. It takes us in the good position for the next group matches,” Gjekstad said after the game.

Sunday’s game was open practically till the end. In the 52th minute Budućnost was leading 18:17, but after that it was just Larvik who was scoring goals (three). At the end, goalkeepers showed the utmost - Clara Woltering had 15 saves (one penalty), Cecilie Leganger 10, including two penalties, and forcing the home players to miss two more.

“In the finish of the game Larvik was a little bit clever and more lucky than we, that’s the reason they won. We can be satisfied that we were on the same level with such a good team. We wanted to show that we can do much better than against Györi Audi ETO KC, and I think we showed it.

"We fought a lot, and have done everything for a victory. We are a little sad that we didn’t manage to get two points. But, congratulations to our team, it was really hard after a defeat in Hungary. Thank to the fans for the great atmosphere, it’s really important for the team, to have such a support at home. We will train hard this week to try to win against Randers”, Clara Woltering said.

After two games, Larvik has four points and 2011 EHF Champions League winners are in good position to get into the semi-finals.

“I am very happy and satisfied with the win against strong team like Budućnost, it is very important for us. We showed great moral in the game, we played very good in defence, Leganger was good on goal. We can do better in attack and have more fast-breaks. I think we will improve  that in the next game,” Gro Hammerseng said.


TEXT: Saša Jončić / br
 
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