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06.11.2015, 15:10
The rookie and the star
«Go back »Print Version


FACE TO FACE: The best player and the best rookie from Round 1 are trying to tip the scale in favour of their respective teams
 

The rookie and the star

In a star-studded competition like the Women’s EHF Champions League, being selected as the player of the round is an achievement hard to get.

While Lois Abbingh’s nine-goal effort against Krim was enough to propel the Dutch player to become the Player of the first round, Ekaterina Ilina’s performance against Larvik was enough for her to be crowned Rookie of the first round.

They have already met last week in Baia Mare and, in spite of Abbingh’s efforts, the Romanian team lost, 20:22.

“We felt the pressure for 60 minutes, it was very intense. However, we managed to contain it and be focused on the task at hand. It was important to dictate the pace in attack and in defence and that was the main reason we won,” Ilina said.

Powerhouses like Györ, Larvik or Vardar have already lost a game in this year’s Women’s EHF Champions League.

But Rostov-Don, the newbies who were an enigma before the start of the competition, have shocked everybody and are currently sitting on top of their group with a perfect record, leaving behind Larvik and HCM Baia Mare.

“Rostov are an impressive team. They have a strong defence, with a very good goalkeeper and a very fast attack”, said Abbingh.

Very good, very fast

If Rostov want to remain successful, the Russian champions need Ekaterina Ilina to maintain her current form. The 24-year old has already scored 22 goals in the first three matches and is the brains behind Rostov’s ascension in the European premium competition.

“Ilina is a very good, very fast player. She is pacing her team’s attacks and is also dangerous herself, with her shots. But if we play in defence like the last games, we will contain her pretty well,” says Abbingh.

The Russian playmaker is in her first season in the Women’s EHF Champions League, but has already attracted plaudits, winning the Rookie of the Round title after her maiden game.

“The fact that I was the rookie in the first round of the season is undoubtedly very nice and an important thing to me.”

“In this competition it is very important to show a good debut. I will try to perform well in in the next matches too and I hope that together with my team we will bring joy to our fans,” concluded Ilina.

Lois belongs among the best players

If Ilina was the best rookie of the first round, Lois Abbingh deservedly won the Player of the Round award. The Dutch is already in her second season in the European premium competition and has been improving constantly.

A powerful shot, combined with tactical intelligence are providing Abbingh with options when meeting a difficult opponent.

Therefore it is no surprise that Ilina became one of Abbingh’s biggest fans.

“Lois is a great player and belongs among the best players at the moment. She is capable of finding a way out of the most difficult situations. With her strong shot she caused troubles to our defence and goalkeeper in the first game,” added Ilina.

But the Dutch is only thinking about getting good results for her team.
 
“We have to play better. In the first leg, we did not play good defence and we did not find each other in attack. We can play more aggressive in defence and we need to speed up our attack.”

“We are now focusing on this and even if Rostov are an impressive team, we are prepared for them.”

“Last year, we entered the main round phase with zero points. We know that everything can happen there, but we need to bring points from this round. Therefore, we need to beat Rostov,” concluded Abbingh.


TEXT: Amina Idrizi, Adrian Costeiu / br
 
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