THRID PLACE MATCH PREVIEW: Buducnost and Vardar both came for the title but those who do not get over their disappointment until Sunday will leave without medals.
Disappointed Balkan outfits battle for third place
No matter how much they worked for it and how well they played against Győr Buducnost are out of the race to defend their title, while Vardar put up a mediocre performance in the semi-final. Now the two heartbroken sets of players will meet to decide who gets to stand on the podium.
Buducnost (MNE) vs HC Vardar (MKD)
It is often said that the third-place match is the "game of the disappointed” and in this year this certainly is the case. Defending champions Buducnost were obviously aiming to defend their title while Vardar were hoping to lift the curse of two consecutive FINAL4s, where they were unable to reach the final.
Their efforts bore no fruit, which means these two European heavyweights once again lock horns in the Women’s EHF FINAL4 just like they did in the two previous editions of the handball show in Budapest.
In 2014 it was an exciting game with Buducnost emerging as winners, while last year the Montenegrin outfit handed a heavy defeat to Vardar before re-claiming their throne against Larvik.
They met this season, too and in the main round Buducnost ran over Vardar (31:19) before the Macedonian team won the reverse fixture (26:24) to seal their third place in Group 2.
In order to beat Buducnost Vardar’s key players need to pull themselves together after their disastrous semi-final performance against Bucuresti. The 26 percent attack efficiency will not be enough against the Montenegrin side, that after all did a great job against Győr but just couldn’t make it past the Hungarian giants.
There are individual honours to fight for, however, Cristina Neagu will need to shoot the net to pieces to be the top scorer. Buducnost’s Romanian star is trailing Bucuresti’s Belle Gulldén by seven goals but the Swedish centre back is only second on the list four goals behind Ekaterina Ilina of Rostov.
Buducnost and Vardar both came for the title but they have to get over the disappointment quickly if they do not want to leave Budapest without any medals. They both had great seasons and proved they belong to the elite class of teams but there is only one place left for them to occupy on the podium.
TEXT: Bence Mártha / br
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