10.02.2017, 05:40
The battle to follow Virto/Quintus into the final eight

ROUND PREVIEW: The final battles for the remaining seven quarter-final berths in the Women’s Challenge Cup take place this weekend.


The battle to follow Virto/Quintus to the final eight

Virto / Quintus (NED) qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Haukar (ISL) 51:50 on aggregate in their double-header last weekend and the remaining seven teams who will battle it out for glory will be known by Sunday (12 February) evening.

WOMEN’S CHALLENGE CUP – LAST 16
All times local to venue

Friday 10 February
ABU Baku (AZE) vs Kram Start Elblag (POL) 18:00hrs (in Poland)

Saturday 11 February
KHF Shqipona (KOS) vs DHC Sokol Poruba (CZE) 16:00hrs (first leg score - 18:51)
Kram Start Elblag (POL) vs ABU Baku (AZE) 16:00hrs
Rocasa Gran Canaria ACE (ESP) vs ZRK Mlinotest Ajdovscina (SLO) 18:30hrs (31:18)
LK Zug Handball (SUI) vs HC Karpaty (UKR) 19:30hrs

Sunday 12 February
HC Vardar SCJS (MKD) vs H 65 Höörs HK (SWE) 13:00hrs (13:26)
HC Karpaty (UKR) vs LK Zug Handball (SUI) 14:00hrs (in Switzerland)
Ardesen GSK (TUR) vs HC Lokomotiva Zagreb 18:00hrs
Mecalia Atletico Guardes (ESP) vs Colegio de Gaia (POR) 19:00hrs (30:26)

For all fixtures/results please click HERE.

Dutch Virto/Quintus secured their Women’s Challenge Cup quarter-final berth last weekend, defeating Icelandic side Haukar by one goal (51:50) in their double header in Iceland, leaving seven tickets up-for-grabs for the last eight this weekend.

Two more double-headers, and five return matches of ties that started last weekend, will take place with the action commencing tonight (Friday 10) evening in Elblag, Poland, where Kram Start Elblag and ABU Baku play the first leg of their internal double header in the Polish town. The return match take place tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.

The other double-header this weekend is taking place in Zug, Switzerland, where Ukrainian side HC Karpaty are visiting LK Zug Handball with the first match being played Saturday night and the second leg Sunday afternoon.

Karpaty have a semi-final from the Challenge Cup last season to defend, while the home team were in the Cup Winners’ Cup the past two seasons.

Reigning Women’s Challenge Cup champions Rocasa Gran Canaria ACE can approach their home game against ZRK Mlinotest Ajdovscina without being too nervous after winning the first match in Slovenia 31:18. It is hard to imagine any problems for the Spanish team in their march to the next round.

This also applies to the 2014 winners, HK 65 Höörs HK. Even though the Swedish team have to play their return match against HC Vardar SCJS in the intimidating Sport Center Jane Sandanski in Skopje, they should probably not fear the match in FYR Macedonia on Sunday afternoon too much.

Höör have a 26:13 lead with them from their home match with coach Ola Månsson admitting after the game; “a 13-goal lead before the return match is good enough [to qualify].” But Höör goalkeeper Jessica Ryde insists it is not over yet. “We must enter the return match with full focus and benefit from the experience we have gained from our many matches in Europe,” she said ahead of the clash.

Nothing can possibly go wrong for DHC Sokol Poruba, when they visit Gjakove in Kosovo for their second meeting with KHF Shqipona. The Czech team carry a lead of no less than 33 goals (51:18) with them from the first leg in Ostrava.

Spain have a very good chance of having two teams in the quarter-finals as Mecalia Atletico Guardes won their away game against Colegio de Gaia 30:26 and have a good chance of following Rocasa Gran Canaria to the next round, when the Portuguese side visit Pontevedra for the second leg Sunday evening.

HC Lokomotiva Zagreb also find themselves in a favourable position against Ardesen GSK. The Croatian team won 33:25 at home last weekend, and this should give them a certain optimism before the return match in Turkey Sunday evening.

TEXT: Peter Bruun/amc


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