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16.11.2013, 22:35
Krim and Vardar take group wins
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ROUND REVIEW: RK Krim Mercator win Group C, while WHC Vardar SCBT take the first place in Group D. Those are facts after the Saturday games in the last round of the Group Matches.
 

Krim and Vardar take group wins

A 32:20 home win against HC Leipzig secured RK Krim Mercator the first place in Group C, no matter how the Sunday match between Metz Handball and IK Sävehof turns out.

In Group D, WHC Vardar SCBT won the direct duel about the first place in the group 31:29 away against Larvik, while Györi Audi ETO got their sixth win in a row. However, the Hungarian champions had to work pretty hard to overcome HC Baia Mare at home.

Group A:
Györi Audi ETO (HUN) vs HCM Baia Mare (ROU) 28:26 (14:14)
In Györ

Györ had not only secured their main round berth, but also the first place in the group before the last match day. The reigning EHF Champions League winners also became the only team this to go through the Group Matches without losing a single point.

The hosts had to fight hard to book their sixth win out of six, though. From the beginning, the home team seemed to be in control, leading with three or four goals most of the first half. However, five goals in succession from the visitors changed the score from 12:8 to 12:13, at which point the Romanian fans among the 1,900 spectators could really be heard, and they still could, when the first half ended 14:14.

The second half also became equal, but when Baia Mare got up 21:19, a surprise seemed to be lurking. At this point, however, it was Györ´s turn to score five goals in succession and take the lead back at 24:21. Even the rest of the match also was tight, but Györ did not give the lead away again.

For Baia Mare, the defeat means that they will have to await the Sunday match between Thüringer HC and Hypo Niederösterreich in order to know their destiny in European handball for the rest of this season.

Group C:
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs HC Leipzig (GER) 32:20 (15:8)
In Ljubljana

Krim had already secured their main round berth before the last match day, so it was a matter of also winning the group, as Leipzig were visiting Ljubljana.

And the Slovenians succeeded. Even though IK Sävhof can also reach nine points, like Krim, through an away win against Metz Handball Sunday, Krim are the better team in the direct comparison with the Swedish champions.

Krim did not have much trouble with the injury handicapped Germans who had nothing at stake apart from the honour, as their chance of going on in Europe this season vanished last weekend.

Leipzig did not manage to score their first goal until six minutes and 49 seconds into the match, and at that point had Krim scored six goals already.

Even though the visitors fought the best they could, they were never even near to reducing this early gap, and in stead it grew bigger and bigger throughout the 60 minutes.

Group D:
Larvik (NOR) vs WHC Vardar SCBT (MKD) 29:31 (15:15)
In Larvik

With both teams being in the main round already, it was a matter of deciding the group win between those two teams who had only lost one point that far in the tournament – against each other.

After the 27:27 in Skopje in their first meeting, the winner in the Arena Larvik Saturday night would simply also be the group winner, while away goals would decide in case of another draw.

After an equal first half with changing one goal leads, which also ended even, Vardar got the far better start to the second half, and within the first eight minutes they changed the half time score of 15:15 into a 21:16 lead.

This turned out to decide the match. Vardar had a better grip on Larvik's line player Isabel Blanco, than they had in the first half, and that handicapped the Norwegian attacking play.

At the other end of the court, the Macedonian powerhouse were able to benefit from an often rather passive Larvik defence which only got more aggressive again from the middle of the second but at that point the visitors were still leading by five goals, and it was too late for the hosts to turn the course of the game.

For the rest of the match Vardar were able to keep their opponents between two and four goals behind them, and their win was never in danger.

“We need more players who function and who stand out in a match like this. It was a good handball team we met, but although our second place will make our road to the semi-final tougher, we may still succeed. We will have to play better handball, though,” Larvik coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad told Norwegian TV2 after his team's defeat.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
 
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