ROUND REVIEW: Three of the four semi-final places in the Women’s Challenge Cup were decided over the weekend, with two French and one Swedish side emerging victorious in emphatic fashion
Issy turn on the style
Issy Paris Hand provided the most remarkable performance in the Women’s EHF Challenge Cup this weekend, as they won 41:23 away to DHC Slavia Praha after drawing 27:27 in the first leg.
Issy will face Union Mios Biganos-Bègles in an all French semi-final, after Biganos-Bègles confirmed their semi-final berth through a 35:23 win at home against Virto/Quintus from the Netherlands.
H 65 Höör are also in the semi-finals after a 26:21 home win against Ardesen GSK, which was more than enough after the 29:22 win in Turkey.
On Monday and Tuesday, Serbian HC BMS Milenium and Ukrainian PO SK Galytchanka-Lviv decide the remaining quarter-final tie.
H 65 Höör (SWE) vs Ardesen GSK (TUR) 26:21 (14:8)
H 65 are in the semi-final of the Women’s Challenge Cup for the second year in succession after their second clear win within a week against Ardesen GSK.
Spectators in the intimate Björvikshallen in Höör made a lot of noise and created a great atmosphere, as H 65 made things clear from the start of the return match. Ardesen led just once, at 2:3, early in the match. Apart from that, the Swedish hosts were in complete control, leading by six goals at half-time and eight early in the second half.
Adding this lead to the seven goal lead from the first match in Turkey, H 65 could live with the visitors reducing the gap a bit towards the end.
H 65 coach Nilas Harris took a calculated risk, by resting several key players towards the end.
“It gave our young players experienced and gave our key players some rest,” Harris explained towards the Swedish Handball Federation´s website.
H 65 will not know their semi-final opponent until Tuesday night, when the second leg of the doubleheader between HC BMS Milenium from Serbia and PO SC Galytchanka-Lviv from Ukraine takes place.
Union Mios Biganos-Bègles (FRA) vs Virto/Quintus (NED) 35:23 (21:13)
”If we are not ready from the start, we still may risk a spanking,” Biganos-Bègles left wing Marion Maubon said ahead of the return match against Virto/Quintus.
However, Maubon and her teammates were very much on form on Saturday and won with no less than 12 goals to spare, twice as many as the first match away last weekend.
Already at half-time the 410 spectators in the Salle “Etienne Turpin” saw the home team go eight goals ahead and deciding the matter.
Led by an in-form Alexandra Lacrabere, who scored nine goals, the Challenge Cup winners from 2011 added four further goals to their clear lead in the last half hour.
“What pleased me most was the fact that we did considerably better in the defence than we did in the first match, in which we conceded too many goals. We also managed to maintain a good rhythm today,” Biganos-Bègles coach Emmanuel Mayonnade told his club’s website.
DHC Slavia Praha (CZE) vs Issy Paris Hand (FRA) 23:41(12:22)
It does not happen every day in European handball that a team who have drawn at home, win by 18 goals away in the return match.
Nevertheless, this was what happened Sunday evening in Prague, when Issy Paris Handball won 41:23 away against DHC Slavia Praha who managed to get a 27:27 draw in Paris in the first leg.
The French visitors got the far better start in the Czech capital. Issy were leading 7:4 and 11:5, they increased the gap to ten goals by half-time.
In the second half, the French dominance continued, and Issy secured an all-French semi-final encounter against Union Mios Bigano-Bègles.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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