Slim first leg victory for the Hungarians
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungary - Viborg HK 31:30 (14:12)
Despite leading by four goals after 51 minutes, the title-holder from Hungary only takes a slim one-goal advantage on the journey to Denmark coming weekend.
Thanks to their rock-solid defence the Danes had the better start in the match, and Grit Jurack and her team-mates marched into a 7:2 lead, leaving the hosts shocked and without reaction.
Eventually the hosts woke up from their nightmare start, and pushed on by their vociferous supporters in a sold out Dabas Arena, they started an energy-sapping catch-up phase, equalising after 20 minutes through Zita Szucsánszki to make it 10:10.
The Hungarian playmaker continued to take responsibility and organised the FTC attacks very effectively. This enabled coach Gábor Elek’s team to succeed in turning the match, taking a two-goal lead to the dressing room.
Both teams gave their utmost in the second half, but in a very fast-paced match the strikers on each side failed to score several times.
With improved goalkeeping the hosts maintained their lead from half-time, and their backline was playing especially well, with Zsuzsanna Tomori and Szandra Zácsik too hot to handle, both scoring either through breakthroughs or from the 9 metre line.
Viborg fought back hard, coming as close as one goal, but with three straight strikes, it was again the Hungarians who were ahead with a comfortable 27:23 lead.
In that phase both teams scored alternately, so the lead remained at four goals, but as in the first half, coach Elek's team showed fluctuations and the cold-blooded Viborg attackers led by Rikke Skov (top scorer of the match with 9 goals) used every opportunity to score.
The Danes were unable to level the match, but with their fantastic catch-up phase they came as close as one goal at the final buzzer, so everything is very open in this hard-edged final before the return tie in Denmark next Sunday (13th May).
TEXT: Márk Hegedüs