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12.04.2013, 13:43
Just another match with only a berth in the final at stake
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Krim Mercator coach, Tone Tiselj, tries to keep his players' nerves as calm as possible ahead of the Women's EHF semi-final clash against Norwegian side, Larvik, on Saturday
 

Just another match with only a berth in the final at stake

For most teams, reaching a semi-final in any European Cup would define pressure.

But not for Krim Mercator, who eagerly await their return leg of the Women's EHF Champions League with Larvik. 

"It is a reward in itself that we have reached the semi-final and we have a chance to go all the way," insists coach Tone Tiselj, who is stoically preparing his girls for the match of the season on Saturday, 13 April. 

Plagued by injuries from the get-go, they have not yet trained or played a match with a complete roster in Tiselj's hardest season yet.

And he should know what a hard season is, as he won the coveted trophy twice with Krim in 2001 and 2003. 

However, all the troubles strengthened the confidence in the team. 

"The girls learned that they can tackle any opponent," says Tiselj.

Without Linnea Torstensson (whose broken finger will keep her out of this match as well) the Ljubljana outfit has somewhat surprisingly won in Norway 24:22 (16:9), with Susann Müller netting eight goals and goalkeeper Jelena Grubišič putting on another stellar performance.  

Krim has also managed to contain Linn-Kristin Koren Riegelhuth, Larvik's best goalscorer, to only one goal from open play - and for Krim the final berth is now just 60 minutes away.  

But Tiselj takes nothing for granted: "Nothing has changed, really. All is up for grabs. This encounter will be decided in the last minutes in Ljubljana.

"We had a good match in Norway - not a perfect one, mind you - but to get to the final, we need two good matches.

"I am preparing my players to put up another good fight. But there is no pressure to win, I just want us to have a good match."

"I expect Larvik to come out stronger in Ljubljana, and I hope we will be able to counter that," says left-handed winger Carmen Martin Berenguer, Krim's most prolific scorer this season with 50 goals.

The Spaniard also has some unfinished business with Larvik, as they narrowly beat Martin's former club, Itxaco, in the 2011 Women's EHF Champions League finals.

The reigning Slovenian champions will again have to wait for the doctors to decide the fate for Müller (knee injury), Andrea Penezić (ankle injury) and Maryna Vergeliuk-Strile (also knee injury), although the outlook for all three looks more promising than before the first leg. 

The return match promises to bring much excitement - after all, the prize is a spot in the final.

Krim's two goal advantage is minimal and can be overturned in a heartbeat.

Doubtless the determination and morale in both camps will be soaring, but the real question is: whose nerves will be stronger?

Live stream and live tweets

The Women's EHF Champions League semi-final, Krim Mercator against Larvik, will be streamed live on ehfTV.

There will also be constant updates as the match progresses on the official EHF Champions League Twitter channel, @ehfcl.


TEXT: Grega Sever / ts
 
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