ROUND PREVIEW: Women’s Challenge Cup resumes with seven matches in the Last 16 this weekend
Reigning champions go to Slovenia in Challenge Cup Last 16
The Women’s Challenge Cup returns to action for the first time in 2017. It is time for the Last 16, which throw-off this weekend with seven matches, including one double-header.
Ruling champions Rocasa Gran Canaria ACE are on the road to Slovenia this weekend in their next attempt to take a step closer to repeating their success of last season.
Rocasa are visting ZRK Minotest Ajdovscina for the first leg on Saturday night.
The Spanish visitors will be taking on a Slovenian side which has been weakened over the winter break. Ajdovscina lost 22-year-old playmaker Nina Sulic to domestic rivals and Women’s EHF Champions League participants RK Krim Mercator.
Another former winner of the competition, H 65 Höörs HK, who won in 2014, have the home right in the first leg of the Last 16. In Sporthallen Höör, the Swedish side welcome Macedonian side HC Vardar SCJS on Sunday afternoon.
Colegio da Gaia have been in the Last 16 for the past three years in succession.
In their efforts to make it a step further this time, the Portuguese team take on Mecalia Atletico Guardes from Spain, who were in the Cup Winners’ Cup the past three years, reaching Round 3 every time.
Mecalia Atletico Guardes will be Colegio de Gaia’s second Spanish opponent in succession in the tournament this season. In the previous round, the Portuguese side eliminated Helvetica BM Alcobendas.
Last season, Ardesen GSK reached the Last 16 of the Cup Winners’ Cup. This year, the Turkish club are in the Last 16 again, but this time in the Challenge Cup.
They visit the Croatian capital to meet HC Lokomotiva Zagreb, who reached the Group Matches of the Champions League two years ago. The first meeting between the two teams takes place in Dom Sportovna in Zagreb Saturday evening.
The only double header this weekend is taking place in Hafnarfjordur in Iceland, where the local team Haukar will receive Virto/Quintus. Over the two matches Saturday and Sunday evening, the Dutch visitors will be trying to emulate their achievement from last season of reaching the quarter-finals.
For Haukar, it is their first season in the Challenge Cup following 10-year break from European Cup competition. The Icelandic side had experiences in the Cup Winners’ Cup and EHF Cup a decade ago.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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