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21.02.2016, 20:27
Brilliant Vardar beat Buducnost for three-way race
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GROUP 2 MATCH REVIEW: Macedonian giants HC Vardar enjoyed their first-ever Champions League win over Montenegrin rivals Buducnost after an impressive performance
 

Brilliant Vardar beat Buducnost for three-way race

HC Vardar broke their jinx against Buducnost after a magnificent display in the Jane Sandanski arena gave them a maiden win in six attempts against the reigning champions, throwing the fiercely competitive main round group wide open before the final match-week.

GROUP 2

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Buducnost (MNE) 26:24 (11:11)

Fans in Skopje were treated to an absolute classic as Vardar claimed their first EHF Champions League win over Buducnost to open a up a three-way race for the group’s top spot.

The result left Buducnost, who had won four and drawn one of their previous five games against the Macedonian side, top of the section level on 13 points with Györi Audi ETO KC. Third place Vardar are now breathing down their necks as they are only a point adrift.

The game got off to a predictable physical start, with two star-studded outfits looking to stifle each other in attack.

A see-saw, tit-for-tat battle lasted throughout the opening period, with the visitors cancelling out an early 4:2 deficit to stay on an even keel with the home side, who were determined to avenge a crushing 31:19 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Having weathered the storm, Buducnost gained the upper hand in the closing stages of the first half and took an 11:9 lead thanks to right back Katarina Bulatovic and playmaker Milena Raicevic.

However, Vardar were able to draw level on the back of superb goalkeeping from Amandine Leynaud, who saved a penalty shortly before the buzzer.

Sanja Damnjanovic of Vardar said after the match: “I think the key to victory was in our collective game. We had the fantastic Amandine Leynaud who had some really amazing saves between the posts too. Although we did not start as we wanted in the attack, we eventually managed to correct the mistakes and win."

Buducnost seemed to have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck when they engineered a two-goal lead, which they maintained for the best part of the second half but the home side had other ideas.

Playing steely defence as never before against Europe’s most fearsome attack, Vardar went on a decisive 5:0 run which forced the final twist in a rip-roaring encounter.

The passionate home fans were in raptures after the final whistle, as right back Barbara Lazovic-Varlec enjoyed by some way her best performance in a Vardar shirt, with six goals from nine shots.

Croatian left back Andrea Penezic added five goals from 11 efforts and right wing Jovanka Radicevic chipped in with four goals from five attempts against her former club.

Bulatovic stood out for Buducnost with six goals and Raicevic netted four, but the support cast for once faltered, as the usually lethal left back Cristina Neagu scored only three times from 11 shots.

Dragan Adzic head coach of Buducnost spoke post-match: “This was a real derby. We entered into this game determined to win, certainly we tried to play our best and we wanted to stay undefeated. But Vardar did not allow it. They offered strong resistance and gave us material for analysis in training. Maybe it was right time to lose because at the beginning of April we have to play quarter-final matches.”


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / ec / bc
 
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