ROUND PREVIEW: Both second leg matches of the Women's Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday.
Final can still be entirely Russian or entirely Scandinavian
The results in the first leg of the Women's Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals were so close that everything is really still possible.
After Viborg HK won 27:25 away against Rostov-Don, and Zvezda Zvenigorod took a 27:26 win against Byasen Trondheim with them home from Norway, a Russian-Scandinavian final between Zvezda and Viborg may seems most likely.
However, an entirely Russian final between Rostov-Don and Zvezda cannot be ruled out at all, and neither can an all-Scandinavian encounter between Viborg and Byasen or even another Russian-Scandinavian clash between Rostov Don and Byasen for that matter.
The answer will be known Saturday afternoon, when both return matches are being played.
Rostov-Don got the far better start to the first meeting with Viborg, leading 9:4 and 11:6. Already at half-time, however, the Danish team had reduced to 12:10, and the second half more or less belonged to the visitors who could fly home with a 27:25 lead.
One of the great heroines for Viborg was Swedish international Linnea Torstensson who scored no less than 11 goals.
“I do not expect to score 11 goals again, though. We still have to remember that we are meeting a strong team with several internationals, and a two goal lead is really nothing in handball,” the 31-year-old left back told eurohandball.com.
“Of course, it is positive that we are leading by two goals, and obviously it is much better than if we had been behind, but there is still a 60 minutes long second half left,” Linnea Torstensson added.
The Women's EHF Champions League winners from 2008, Zvezda still have a fine chance to win their second European competition in history.
So far, the Russian team is well on the way to the final of the Cup Winners' Cup after their 27:26 win in Norway against Byasen in the first leg.
However, Byasen coach Claus Mogensen is confident ahead of the second leg in the Sport hall Zvezda in Zvenigorod Saturday afternoon.
“We did not feel that we played our best in the first match, so we see room for improvement. I realise, of course, that we are going to Russia to face an opponent who probably think that they can also do better when playing at home, but still I believe that we can keep the match equal all the way, and as it is only goal that separates us, I expect a close decision,” Claus Mogensen told eurohandball.com.
“In the first match we tended to play too slowly, and we also took too many chances with shots above their tall central defenders. Those are things we will have to improve. If we can do that, I am confident,” Claus Mogensen said.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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