Review of the Women's Challenge Cup Final, first leg
No early decision in the final
Only a four-goal difference will divide two finalists of the Women's Challenge Cup in the second leg as Croatia's Samobor beat Baník Most 24:20 on Sunday. The second leg will be played on next Sunday, 12 May in Most.
Women's Challenge Cup Final, first leg:
Fantastic atmosphere in a crowded hall proved that this final match means real handball holiday for locals in Samobor. This year Croatian team celebrates 40th anniversary and final of the European Cup was the best possible gift for all.
First five minutes of the match both teams wanted to feel opponent's strength, 2:2 in 5th minute. And then Samobor started their show. Fantastic Tea Golubić scored 6 goals and Ivana Lovrić added 2 and in 18th minute Samobor led by seven goals.
Lovrić was instrumental for the home team in the remaining minutes of the first half as she distributed balls from left to right wing, scored four goals and hosts’ cushion was at six goals at the end of first half. Big help also came from goalkeeper Lidija Radovanić with 10 saves in first 30 minutes.
“Our main idea was to play as fast and as good as we can in first half. And it worked well, we had big advantage but it was unreal for us to keep it until the end of the match. Not with only seven girls in my team that can play at top level. Our opponents showed in the second half that they have much more top-quality players so I have to be satisfied with our victory,“ Samobor's coach Dubravka Tunjić said.
Baník Most showed its strength in the second half. From very beginning they started to play better in defence, they stopped Ivana Lovrić and Samobor's advantage started to melt down. Samobor scored only 3 goals in 20 minutes of second half and Baník was back in the match. In 53rd minute Samobor was leading 19:18. But then Radovanić made several great saves and domestic players managed to find their way towards victory, it ended 24:20. Croatian team will have to defend four-goal lead next Sunday in Most.
"We are very satisfied with this victory. In my opinion we deserved to win. We knew Baník have wider bench and it looked good for us until we had strength and managed to keep our concentration at maximum level. We will have four goals advantage to defend in Most and we'll give our best to manage it. It will be hard but we will believe in our trophy till the end. You do not play European Cup final match every day,“ Ivana Lovrić said.
"Our main goal before the match was to allow less than 25 goals, and we managed to do it. We could also win this match, but we didn't, so we have to be satisfied with close defeat. I think we can make it up in the rematch. Our spectators are also very noisy and they will help us to win Challenge cup trophy,“ said Dušan Poloz, Baník's coach.
Baník's left back Hana Martinková was not trying to hide a disappointment. "We managed to score only 20 goals so I cannot be satisfied with this part. But I'm sure we will fix this issue in second match. Here was great atmosphere, but our fans will also make something similar in our hall so I'm sure we will win the trophy at the end,“ she said.
TEXT: Zlatko Škrinjar / br
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