30.03.2012, 10:01
Women's EHF Cup Semi-Final First Leg Preview

Two legs of two matches each will decide the final.

Women's EHF Cup Semi-Final First Leg Preview

Lada - KIF Vejen

The Russians arrived in the semi-finals after a dazzling clash against Team Tvis Holstebro, where away goal difference helped them to reach the last four teams, whilst the Danes reached the next stage thanks to their strong home performance against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, where they built a 10-goal lead.

The Russians only have domestic players in their squad and they were part of the EHF Women's Champions League for several years, gaining their biggest result with the 2006/2007 Final, where they lost against Danish side Slagelse DT.

In the Women's EHF Cup they will meet another Danish team, and for many, the fierce clash against KIF will be the 'real' final of the Women's EHF Cup.

Lada´s star players include defensive specialist Nadezda Muravyeva, line-player Natalia Shipilova, and goalkeeper Maria Sidorova. With their quality back-court, built around Irina Bliznova and young prospect Ekaterina Davydenko, they will have good chances to reach another final.

They will, however, meet KIF Vejen, a strong side that gave a sharp handball lesson to Leverkusen in the quarterfinals.

The Danes have mixed nationalities (Croatian, Norwegian, South-Korean, Hungarian and Swedish) in their squad, and are in the middle of a disappointing season so far, lying fourth from bottom in the Dame Håndbold Ligaen.

In season 2009/2010, the Danes played in the final of the EHF Women's Cup Winners' Cup, but lost a close duel to the Montenegrin side Buducnost.

C.B. Mar Alicante - Handball Club Zalau

Mar Alicante are writing history again, as after last year´s participation in the final of the EHF Women's Cup Winners' Cup, the Spaniards are close to repeating their biggest European Cup result from last year, this time in the EHF Women's Cup.

The club, coached by Esteban Roig, currently lies in fourth position in the Spanish league, behind Itxako Navarra, Bera Bera and Mar Sagunto.

Their strongest weapon is back-court ace Isabel Ortuño, who led her side to some great results last season and is also the key factor in this year´s success story.

Their semi-final opponents, HC Zalau, are coached by the legendary Gheorghe Tadici, the former trainer of the Romanian national team.

With line-player Ana Maria Somoi (formerly Lazer) the team has a former Győri Audi ETO player, and with left-back Valeria Beşe, a strong defence is cemented.

The former Oltchim Vâlcea player joined Tadici´s club last year and is now an important part of the club.

The EHF Women's Cup Final qualification would mean the highlight of the handball season (besides the finals themselves) for both cities, Alicante and Zalau.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs

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