Damnjanović out for upcoming European matches with a broken toe
Old rivals RK Krim Mercator and RK Podravka Vegeta met in Ljubljana on Saturday and Sunday, but the weekend ended badly for the Croatian champions.
Despite two defeats, 28:27 and 31:20, Podravka’s coach Neven Hrupec will be more concerned with the injury of the team’s top scorer, Sanja Damnjanović, who broke her toe and will not be able to help teammates for at least a month.
The 25 year-old, was injured at the end of the first friendly match on Friday, against the team that narrowly secured a Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round berth ahead of Podravka.
The injury was caused accidentally by a teammate, forcing Damnjanović to leave the playing court and go to hospital.
"Lidija Horvat and I wanted to intercept a pass to Krim’s line player. Unfortunately, she stepped on my foot accidentally and I have broken my toe. Doctors said that I won’t be able to play for the next four to six weeks," Damnjanović told eurohandball.com.
Damnjanović will be forced to use crutches during her recovery and will not be put in a cast.
The top scorer’s injury came at the worst possible moment of the season for Podravka, just before their Women’s EHF Cup Winners' Cup matches against Hungarian club Váci NKSE on Saturday, 2 February.
The upcoming tie will be a serious task for the Croatian team without Damnjanović, Anita Gaće, and Miranda Tatari, who is recovering from knee surgery and will be out until the end of the season.
Achieving the club’s goals for this season of winning titles in domestic competitions and a strong showing in the Women’s Regional Handball League and EHF Cup Winners Cup is certain to be much more difficult in this situation.
"We are in tough situation before our matches with the Hungarians. Anita Gaće is still questionable for the next matches, but I believe that our team spirit will be above all the problems and that I will be ready to help for the next matches and the next opponent in Europe. Since we didn’t achieve the top eight in the Champions League, our goal is to go as far as we can. My personal wish is to win Cup Winners' Cup,” concluded Damnjanović.
Damnjanović had an outstanding first part of the season where she was the second scorer of the Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches with 50 goals. Podravka finished in third place in Group B and qualified for the Women’s EHF Cup Winners' Cup Last 16.
The Serbian left back was also a member of National team that finished fourth at the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 in Belgrade last December and was named on the tournament’s All Star Team.
TEXT: Žika Bogdanović / cor