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23.02.2019, 16:30
Györ secure first place; Vipers and FTC earn quarter-final berths
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GROUP 2 REVIEW: Györi Audi ETO KC took another impressive win in this season’s Women’s EHF Champions League, 27:25, against CSM Bucuresti, while Vipers Kristiansand and FTC qualified for the next stage
 

Györ secure first place; Vipers and FTC earn quarter-final berths

With their ninth win in ten games this season, Györ mathematically secured first place in Group 2 of the Women's EHF Champions League Main Round, setting up a clash with the fourth-placed team from Group 1 in the Quarter-finals. A 6:0 run for Györ that displayed flashes of brilliance in defence for the first time this season was the pivotal point of the match.

Elsewhere, Vipers Kristiansand impressively defeated RK Krim Mercator by eight goals, with the result sealing Vipers' quarter-final place. FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria joined Vipers in reaching the Quarter-finals after a one-goal victory over Thüringer HC.

  • Györ’s Nycke Groot had a superb outing, scoring eight times
  • Györ extended their unbeaten run in the Champions League to 19 matches
  • Vipers reach quarter-final stage for the first time ever; Reistad scored seven goals
  • FTC also advance after beating Thüringer narrowly

GROUP 2
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) 25:27 (10:14)

When the two best attacking teams in the Women’s EHF Champions League collided, you may have thought that defence would be less significant than usual. Yet CSM Bucuresti designed their whole game plan against Györ by trying to stop the free-flowing attacking system deployed by Gabor Danyi – and for ten minutes, it seemed to work. The Romanian side took an early 2:0 lead as Györ failed to find the key to unlock CSM’s defence.

But two superb shots from Anne Mette Hansen, which were complemented by superb assists from Nycke Groot and Stine Oftedal, helped the guests take their first lead after 12 minutes (5:4).

As CSM’s back court were again without Cristina Neagu and Amanda Kurtovic, the Romanian side had to rely on their wings, with Jovanka Radicevic and Iulia Curea combining for five goals in the first 20 minutes, which gave the hosts a narrow two-goal lead (10:8).

But when the goals dried up, it was up to Jelena Grubisic to try and bail out the Romanian side. However, seven saves in the first half were not enough to stop a 6:0 run for Györ to end the first half, as CSM failed to score for the last nine and a half minutes – and Györ led at half-time by four goals. The 14:10 score line was not a deal-breaker for CSM, but with playmaker Andrea Lekic not at her best, the Romanian side needed direction and creativity in attack.

But a determined CSM managed to stop Györ’s attack at the start of the second half, forcing the Hungarian side to take a timeout in the 43rd minute, when the guests were only leading by one goal (17:16). CSM then tied the game, 18:18, but they could not sustain the attacking rhythm needed to win. A Nycke Groot-inspired run took Györ to another win, with the visitors taking a 27:25 win.

Extending their unbeaten streak to 19 games, Györ clinched first place in the group with 15 points, five more than CSM, with two games to go. The Romanian side will now fight for second place in Group 2 with Vipers Kristiansand.

Danyi Gabor, Gyori Audi ETO KC coach, praised the attitude CSM Bucuresti showed against his team. “First of all, I would like to congratulate the Bucharest team. Their attitude was excellent. They really had an excellent fight attitude in the entire game. Some period we had an advantage on our side, but it was an excellent game,” he said.

Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs RK Krim Mercator (SLO) 29:21 (14:14)
 
Overwhelming favourites judging by the two teams’ current form, a win for Vipers against Krim would allow them to proceed to the quarter-final phase of the Women’s EHF Champions League for the first time.

For ten minutes, as left back Tjasa Stanko surprised the opposing defence with several powerful shots, the guests managed to dictate the rhythm.

However, as the Norwegian side found ways to breakthrough past the opposing defence, a 3:1 run from Vipers turned the game on its head.

Firing on all cylinders, with six different scorers, including four goals by 20-year old back Henny Reistad, Vipers were cruising to victory after 20 minutes (13:9). Yet the game was far from over and hanging by a thread, Krim managed to get back into the game, riding an excellent streak from Stanko. A 5:1 run for the Slovenian side helped tie the score, 14:14, at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as Vipers tried to build a gap, but Stanko and line player Olga Perederiy managed to keep Krim afloat.

A 6:2 run for Vipers between the 41st and 49th minute was the building block for Vipers’ win. Krim found it impossible to stop Reistad and fellow back Marta Tomac.

With the gap increasing and a two-minute suspension for Stanko, Krim started to drift – and it was another win for Vipers, 29:21, with an impressive outing from Henny Reistad, who scored seven times.

It was the fifth win in the last six games for Vipers, who leapfrogged CSM into second place – and, perhaps crucially, Vipers also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Thüringer HC (GER) 30:29 (17:12)

It was clear that Thüringer needed a miracle to progress to the next phase of the Women’s EHF Champions League. But the German side still took the game to FTC, who had to fight for the two points that secured them their fourth consecutive quarter-final berth.

Thüringer only led once, scoring the first goal of the game, but it quickly became apparent that FTC were the better side as their attack found easier ways to score.

It was once again a superb game for 19-year old right back Katrin Klujber, who really looks like the next gem of Hungarian handball, that stole the show. Klujber, who made her debut in the main round and had already scored 21 goals in the EHF Champions League, was virtually unstoppable, putting nine goals past the German side.

A 3:0 run sparked by Nerea Pena and Aniko Kovacsics was the pivotal moment of the game – and FTC jumped to a 12:8 lead.

Although it did not look likely for much of the second half, an astonishing comeback was on the cards after a 4:0 run for Thüringer brought the German side back into contention, but FTC protected the 30:29 score line in the last 30 seconds to earn an important win.

The Hungarian side have now qualified for the fourth time in a row for the quarter-final phase, but they are now eyeing an improvement in the standings. FTC are now fourth, with eight points, but they must play away at Györ and against Krim. On the other side, Thüringer are out of contention and could only leapfrog Krim if they won both of their last two games.

Post-match statements

Herbert Müller, Thüringer coach: “It was a crazy game. I think that we started well, mainly in the first ten minutes, but during the game we made a lot of mistakes. Between the two halves I said to my players that we must believe in ourselves, fight, fight and take the chance. But this chance arrived too late, only in the last minutes, and we could not reach the draw at the end. Of course, I congratulate FTC.”

Gabor Elek, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria coach: “It was a really good game, but we also made mistakes. I think we were lucky that we could win. I really respect Thuringer because they never give up, always fight. I am happy because we are in the best eight already – we have a really young team, but we can show our power from week to week.”
 


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / jw
 
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