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18.04.2018, 11:10
Things we know ahead of the Women’s EHF FINAL4
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TALKING POINTS: The quarter-finals have been played and the Women’s EHF FINAL4 pairings are set. We look at the eye-catching moments of the past week, as it all unravelled
 

Things we know ahead of the Women’s EHF FINAL4

Things we already know may or may not influence how the season finale unravels. But so far, we know so much more than a week ago, and it only makes anticipation of the Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest that much sweeter.

The Women’s EHF FINAL4 Semi-final pairings were drawn this week, with the clash between the two former or current champions CSM Bucuresti and Györi Audi ETO KC certainly the most eye-catching.

As the defending champions Györ meet the powerful CSM, last year’s finalists and participants in all five of the Women’s EHF FINAL4 tournaments so far, Vardar, are pitted against the in-form Russian side Rostov-Don, who are looking to make a mark at their maiden Women’s EHF FINAL4.

The significance of the Vardar versus Rostov match is even greater, knowing Vardar will enter next season with a completely changed team. The two days at Papp Laszlo Arena may be the final time we see the current set of players together, wearing the red and black strip of the Macedonian club.

Emotional Jane Sandanski send-off

The last match of the season at the fiery Skopje arena turned into an emotional affair for the majority of Vardar players. The second leg of the Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-final against Midtjylland was the last game this Vardar team will play at Jane Sandanski.

As announced earlier, following the club’s decision to begin preparing young players for the EHF EURO 2022, most of the current squad have agreed to move elsewhere for next season.

The 32:25 victory against the Danish team was the perfect send-off for Vardar, who will continue towards their fifth consecutive Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest with the ambition of lifting the elusive trophy for the first time.

Boosted by the passionate roar of their loyal fans Komiti, who will undoubtedly flood Papp Laszlo Arena in May, Vardar are on a mission to write history and complete their legacy.

Outsiders show character

The differences from the first-leg Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-finals were too great for Buducnost and Metz to overcome. However, that did not prevent the two outsiders from performing well in the face of adversity.

Györ and CSM secured the Women’s EHF FINAL4 berths, but the brave performance of their quarter-final rivals is what stole the headlines.

Györ clinched their fourth Women’s EHF FINAL4 appearance with a tighter-than-expected win against the battling Buducnost (30:28). After the first half ended 15:15, both team had their chance at glory, which went to the more experienced Hungarian side.

The two stand-out performers were players of vastly different experience. 19-year-old line player Tatjana Brnovic impressed for Buducnost, shooting six from seven from the field, while 34-year-old Anita Görbicz was the shining example for injury-struck Györ, with 11 goals.

Meanwhile, Metz bravely overcame CSM 27:20 in their rematch. However, with the dominant 34:21 victory in the first leg, the Romanian side had practically cleared all doubts of their future before the second clash.

On-fire Rostov impress to book their maiden FINAL4

Form is definitely on the side of the Russian team. Of all their Women’s EHF Champions League rivals, coach Frederic Bougeant’s side has impressed the most over the past weeks.

Rostov’s dream is now a reality, as they will make their Women’s EHF FINAL4 debut in Budapest. The manner of their already-recorded victories has been nothing short of extraordinary, with the latest a dominant 32:22 result against a difficult rival, Hungarian vice-champions FTC.

Rostov’s hard-core defence and back court have been crucial. The back court led the way in both quarter-final matches, with Anna Vyakhireva’s impeccable efficiency the crown jewel of their game, especially of late.

With the form they are in, Rostov will be a sensation at their maiden Women’s EHF FINAL4 this May. If they can keep their form and confidence, bringing it to the court at Budapest’s Papp Laszlo Arena on May 12, it would be hard for anyone to stop the Russian teaxm.


TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cg
 
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