DAY REVIEW: Brest Bretagne Handball and NFH-Nykobing Falster Handboldklub dropped their first points in the Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase
Two draws in Women's EHF Cup thrillers
Three matches of the Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase were played on Sunday, and all of them were extremely tight affairs.
There had been no draws in this season's group stage of the competition, but two of the three games on Sunday ended in a stalemate.
VfL Oldenburg (GER) vs IK Sävehof (SWE) 30:32 (18:14)
Both Group A outsiders had lost their previous matches and knew that winning this clash was essential to keep up their hopes of squeezing into the quarter-finals.
Despite playing both previous games at home, Sävehof had failed to earn a single point. The Swedish side had to travel to Oldenburg for their maiden victory, making an impressive comeback in the closing stages of the game.
Throughout the game the visitors’ triumph seemed rather unlikely. Oldenburg seized the initiative from the start, their lead reached five goals (11:6) by the 15th minute, and at half-time the German team were comfortably in the lead 18:14.
Midway through the second half Oldenburg were still ahead (26:23), but they then started losing too many simple balls and Sävehof benefited from their mistakes. The visitors had a good run, turning the score into a 30:27 lead and went on to clinch their first victory in the group phase.
Alba Fehérvár KC (HUN) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) 25:25 (14:15)
Brest had won both of their previous matches, against HC Leipzig and Kuban, and hoped for another victory when they travelled to Hungary. Yet the visitors narrowly escaped defeat as their left wing Maud Eva Copy scored an equaliser just 11 seconds from time.
The French team had a better start, scoring seven goals in the opening seven minutes to lead 7:4. Then Alba Fehérvár considerably improved their defence, and at half-time Brest’s advantage was minimal (15:14).
After the break, the Hungarian side gained the initiative and soon went in front for the first time in the match (16:15). The game was extremely tight, but Alba Fehérvár held a slight advantage. After a 7:1 run, they had a three-goal lead (24:21) with seven minutes remaining and were later up 25:23 before Brest drew level.
Elena Gjeorgjievska had a great game for Alba Fehérvár, scoring 12 times, but her efforts could not carry her side to victory. For Brest, Melinda Geiger was the top scorer with nine goals.
Glassverket (NOR) vs NFH-Nykøbing Falster Håndboldklub (DEN) 25:25 (14:16)
With two victories in as many games, NFH appeared to be the favourites against a Glassverket side that had started their EHF Cup Group Phase campaign with two defeats. Yet the Norwegian side managed to snatch a point from the Group D leaders.
The team from Nykøping had scored 35 goals against Lada and 34 against Metzingen, yet they found it more difficult to break down Glassverket’s defence. The hosts’ goalkeeper Guro Rundbraten again played well, helping her team to get their first point in the group.
Glassverket looked more focused early in the game and were in the lead during the first 20 minutes, but NFH turned the game around and were up 16:14 at the break.
In the second half, it was the hosts’ turn to come back. Just midway through the half they had a three-goal lead (22:19), but NFH did not give up and drew level.
The score of 25:25 remained unchanged during the last several minutes of the match, when both goalkeepers, Rundbraten in particular, made great saves to secure a draw.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / ap
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