DAY REVIEW: Randers end Nantes winning streak, while Brest rescued a point in a thrilling game against Alba Fehervar.
Randers end Nantes winning streak; Brest earn a draw after exciting comeback
Both French teams ended their games in a draw on Sunday in the Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase. However, these teams are likely to feel different about this result: Nantes seemed set to beat Randers, but let the Danish side draw level. Brest on the other hand, narrowly escaped defeat from Alba Fehérvár thanks to an excellent run in the last ten minutes.
Randers HK (DEN) vs Nantes Loire Atlantique HB (FRA) 26:26 (12:10)
After this match, Nantes became the last team in the EHF Cup Group Phase to drop a point. Prior to this, the French team had won all three games, including the one against Randers at home. Although they were close to victory in Denmark, they let it slip from their hands in the dying seconds of the game.
Nevertheless, the French side stay on top of the Group A with seven points, while second place Randers are on five points.
Both of these rival teams had good and bad spells in this thrilling game. Nantes were in the lead 7:5 midway through the first half, but Randers came back- and were in front at the break, 12:10.
Randers extended the lead to 14:10 soon after half-time. Nantes fought hard, and retook the lead with several minutes to go, 26:23. Randers managed to earn a point as top scorer Kathrine Heindahl drew level with her seventh goal in the game just five seconds from time.
IK Sävehof (SWE) vs VfL Oldenburg (GER) 37:33 (18:14)
This match in Partille was Oldenburg’s last chance to fight for a quarter-final spot. The German side suffered their fourth straight defeat and are now unable to progress to the next stage of the competition.
The visitors started poorly - Cara Hartstock scored their first goal seven minutes into the game when they were already behind by five goals. Oldenburg were behind for the entire match, and although they managed to improve their attack and score 33 times by full-time, it was not enough to earn them any points.
Oldenburg coach, Leszek Krowicki acknowledged that their team was not as strong as it needed to be for such strong opposition: "We are missing four national team players, so our team is not as strong as it should be. Sävehof deserved the win, but we had hoped to play a better game. We had a couple of young reserves and that is not enough against a team like this."
Following a good start, IK Sävehof gained confidence throughout the match. In the end they managed to claim their first home victory in the group phase. With four points after four games, the third-place Swedish side now need points from the two remaining games against Nantes and Randers in order to advance from the group.
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Alba Fehérvár KC (HUN) 21:21 (7:11)
Last week, these two teams split points after an exciting match in Hungary. Today, Brest and Fehervar produced another thriller, which ended in a stalemate again.
Both sides defended well early in the game, and attack efficiency was quite low. The score was 4:4 by the midpoint of the second half, however, the visitors then began playing more aggressively and went in front to end the half 11:7.
This trend continued well into the second half, as Alba Fehervar led 18:13 in the 45th minute and 20:14 five minutes later. Brest’s first defeat in the group seemed inevitable.
Despite this, the hosts showed strong character, and their key players Alison Pineau and Maud Eva Copy led by example. Brest had a great run during the last ten minutes, but the score was still 21:19 with just one minute to go. In a nail-biting finish, Pineau reduced the gap, and Copy drew level just three seconds from the final buzzer.
Laurent Bezeau Brest's coach, was happy with the determinantion of her players: "In second half, the thing is that the players never gave up. This draw is due to courage."
ÉRD HC (HUN) vs Byasen Trondheim (NOR) 34:22 (15:12)
When these teams met last weekend in Trondheim, while ÉRD were in lead for much of the game, they allowed Byasen to come back and claim victory. Today, the Hungarian side avenged this frustrating defeat.
ÉRD did not repeat the same mistakes they made last time. Following a tight game in the opening minutes, they seized the initiative and led 15:12 at the interval.
In the second half, the hosts’ dominance was even more evident. Ten minutes from time, they were up 27:18. This time Byasen had no chance to turn the game around as ÉRD continued to push and ultimately won by a 12-goal margin.
Edina Szabó, head coach for ÉRD was surprised, but happy that her team turned the tables on their previous defeat: "I guess we would have liked to take revenge for last time and we hoped to win. We didn’t expect such results in the end. We could feel the tension throughout the game."
Now, both opponents are level on four points, the Group C leader Rostov-Don have six points, and SG BBM Bietigheim sit at the bottom of the group with just two points.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / kc
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