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09.03.2013, 18:42
Larvik and Oltchim close in on semi-finals
«Go back »Print Version


Ferencváros in difficulties after the home setback

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Women's CL
»Main Round
»
 

Larvik and Oltchim close in on semi-finals

The first two games of the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round matchday 5 produced a pair of enthralling encounters in which the big guns of European club handball displayed their class and quality when they needed to most.

Larvik, the elite competition’s 2011 champions and also the winners of two Cup Winners´ Cup trophies, beat Randers with a furious finish to leave their fate in their own hands ahead of the final home game against holders Budućnost Podgorica.

Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea overcame adversity to blow away Ferencváros with a second half hurricane after a tight opening period and they now have every chance of reaching the last four when they take on Krim Mercator next weekend.


Group 1
Randers HK (DEN) vs Larvik HK (NOR) 26:31 (15:15)


Trophy-laden stalwart Gro Hammerseng inspired 2011 EHF Champions League winners Larvik to an all-important win at Scandinavian rivals Randers on Saturday and kept them in the driving seat to reach the semi-finals.

If last season’s finalists Györi Audi ETO KC beat holders Budućnost Podgorica on Sunday, Larvik will advance to the last four with a match to spare and the result of their final Main Round home game against the Montenegrin giants will bear no competitive significance.

Should Budućnost win, however, two points at Larvik would see them through while a draw against Györ would require a three-goal win at Larvik in order to leapfrog them with a better head-to-head record.

The lead changed hands several times in a see-saw first half in Denmark, with Larvik taking an early 3:0 advantage before Randers responded to nose ahead 11:10 thanks to five goals from right back Camilla Dalby.

It seemed the home team would be able to spring an upset when they scored two goals without reply shortly after the break to lead 17:15, but pivot  Isabel Blanco and versatile backcourt player Linn Jørum Sulland, who drifted to the right wing whenever she found space, kept Larvik afloat before Hammerseng took over.

The 32-year old playmaker scored at crunch time almost at will, including a quickfire brace to give the visitors a 26:23 lead in the closing stages.

Randers staged one last fightback to reduce the deficit to 27:26 with five minutes left but their challenge was repelled as Hammerseng drew on her vast experience to steer Larvik through the home straight.

Dalby was the game’s top scorer with eight goals but the home side were undone by a trio of visiting sharpshooters as Hammerseng, Blanco and Linn-Kristin Koren Riegelhuth netted six each for Larvik.  

    
Group 2
FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea (ROU) 23:30 (15:15)


Oltchim lost Ionela Stanca just a few days before their vital trip to FTC after the line player acrimoniously parted company with the club over unpaid wages, but the Romanian outfit conjured their best Champions League performance of the season in the face of unwelcome adversity when the chips were down.

Oltchim had to win to keep alive any realistic hopes of avoiding an early exit and following a tight first half, they rolled on at full throttle in the second to brush aside the team that stunned them 23:22 on home court in their opening Main Round Group 2 fixture.

That result had left lingering doubts over Oltchim’s ability to progress to the semi-finals and following an impressive performance in Hungary, they now have their fate firmly in their own hands.

No matter what Krim do at home against Zvezda Zvenigorod on Sunday, a win against the Slovenian team at home on the final matchday would enable Oltchim to advance to the semi-finals.

FTC, boasting the competition’s top scorer in Zsuzsanna Tomori (pictured right with a ball), had the upper hand in the first half and it seemed Oltchim were in trouble when the home side took a 6:4 lead.

But the visitors clawed their way back into the tie and having drawn level by halftime, they pulled away to 25:21 midway through the second half as it became clear that the writing was on the wall for Ferencváros.

Tomori was her usual self and scored seven goals for the home side but the support cast was thwarted by Oltchim’s iron-clad second half defence, with Montenegrin sharpshooter Katarina Bulatović also on song at the other end with seven goals to her name.

Spaniard Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa and Ukraine’s Iuliia Managarova chipped in with five each, while pivot Oana Manea netted four for rampant Oltchim. FTC can still advance to the semi-finals but apart from requiring a win at Zvezda in their final game, they also need the results of other games to go their way.  

Photo: Anikó Kovács

 


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br
 
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