Lada rush into group phase with impressive away win
Handball Club Lada had minor concerns before travelling to Denmark for their second EHF Cup meeting with Viborg HK. Having won the first leg of Qualification Round 3 at home only 29:26, the Russian team, who reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup last season, were in danger of an early exit this year.
However, Lada proved able to double the score line from their victory in the home game, winning 28:22 on Saturday.
1,186 spectators in Viborg Stadionhal saw Lada leading 13:10 at half-time, and as the visitors also won the second half by three goals, their group phase berth was confirmed.
“We were not strong enough in our defence, in our counter phase or in our shots from distance. Out of 120 minutes of handball against Lada, we have played well for 20, and that is why we do not manage to proceed against such a strong team,” Viborg coach Allan Heine said after the match.
Russian international Daria Dmitrieva scored six times for Lada, while four goals were enough for left wing Ann Grete Norgaard to be the top-scoring player for Viborg.
Nykøbing Falster Håndboldklub were practically in the group phase before hosting Indeco Conversano in Scandlines Arena of Nykøbing Falster.
After their 36:24 away win, the return match was more or less a formality, and once again the European debutants left no doubt.
This time the Danish side won 36:22, with 10 goals from Danish international Kristina Kristiansen contributing to the big home victory.
Denmark are sure to have at least two teams in the group phase, as Randers HK followed Nykøbing to the group phase later on Saturday.
The Danish team were one goal up before visiting Poland to face MKS Selgros Lublin, as they won the first match 28:27. The narrow difference turned out to be enough in front of 3,000 spectators in Globus Hall in Lublin, where the second leg ended in a 23:23 draw.
Lublin were leading 5:2, but by half-time Randers had taken the advantage at 13:11. The visitors stayed narrowly in front throughout the second half, before the home team equalized in the last seconds.
“We had a tactically clever performance and adjusted our defensive play very well to their fast and physical way of playing. We were able to put physical pressure on them all the time, and this was decisive,” Randers coach Ryan Zinglersen told newspaper Randers Amtsavis.
Dunaujvaros Kezilabda Akademia DKKA, who won the EHF Cup last season, are out of the tournament before the group phase even begins.
Dunaujvaros were down 22:29 after their away game in the Hungarian draw against ÉRD HC, and they did not manage to turn the tables in the return match at home.
On the contrary, ÉRD won again – this time with a decisive 31:25 to proceed to the group phase with little trouble.
Germany will be represented by at least three teams in the group phase. HC Leipzig will be joining from the Women’s EHF Champions League and as of Friday, TuS Metzingen qualified too. On Saturday, SG BBM Bietigheim joined those two teams in the next round.
Bietigheim were very close to the group phase before their home game against HC Podravka Vegeta, having won 23:16 in Koprivnica.
In the return match in Sporthalle Am Viadukt, the current number two in the German Bundesliga left no doubt against the Croatian champions.
After being up 13:7 at half-time, Bietigheim cruised into the main round with a 24:20 win.
“I am proud of my players who gave everything. Unfortunately, it was not enough after all,” said Podravka coach Goran Mrden, while Bietigheim coach Martin Albertsen said:
“I made quite a lot of changes today, so I am to blame if our play did not flow as fluently as in the first match, but that is the way it is. We do not only speak of ourselves as a team – we are a team.”
3,719 spectators in Arena Brest celebrated Brest Bretagne Handball’s group phase berth in the club’s first European competition in history.
Brest won 25:20 away against Spanish Super Amara Bera Bera in the first leg, and in the home game, the French side confirmed their place in the group phase with a 23:19 victory after leading 10:8 at half-time.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg