Buducnost join Metz and Rostov in quarter-final
Buducnost edged Brest Bretagne Handball 29:28 in the late game Sunday to follow Metz Handball and Rostov-Don into the next phase of the Women's EHF Champions League.
Both Metz and Rostov needed victories to secure early progression to the quarter-final. And both teams reached that goal by brushing aside their Danish opponents. Metz were too strong for Kobenhavn Handball and won by as many as 12 goals (36:24), while Rostov beat Odense HC in an away game 30:26.
Metz and Rostov remain level on 11 points; Kobenhavn and Odense both have four
Metz enjoy a five-match winning run in the tournament
Kobenhavn conceded the most goals in their CL history, 36
Djurdjina Jaukovic was instrumental for Buducnost with 12 goals
Metz Handball (FRA) vs Kobenhavn Handball (DEN) 36:24 (19:13)
Following this victory, Metz boast a five-match winning run in the continental top flight, and they have a perfect record in the main round. Besides, the French side have not dropped a point at home in the current competition.
Kobenhavn, who battle for the fourth position, hoped to get a positive result in France. But after the tight opening minutes, Metz set the tone of the match, leading 6:2 in the 11th minute and 10:4 six minutes later.
Following a timeout, the visitors started to find gaps in Metz’s vaunted defence, cutting the deficit to 12:9. Now it was Emmanuel Mayonnade who needed a timeout, and it helped the team to recover and to lead by six goals at half-time (19:13).
Metz went on to dominate after the break, firing from all cylinders in attack. Midway through the second half, their advantage reached double digits at 28:18, and in the 49th minute, Manon Houette scored the home side’s 30th goal in the match.
In the end, Metz netted as many as 36 times – the biggest amount of goals Kobenhavn ever conceded in a Women’s EHF Champions League. It leaves the Danish side with something to work on before the home match with Buducnost in the next round.
Odense HC (DEN) vs Rostov-Don (RUS) 26:30 (13:17)
Rostov-Don claimed an away victory to remain level on points with group leaders Metz, who have the better goal difference. Rostov’s leader Anna Vyakhireva is out until the end of the main round after her elbow surgery, but coach Ambros Martin has a flurry of other classy players at his disposal.
During the opening seven minutes, Rostov and Odense exchanged goals before Iuliia Managarova and Viktoriya Borshchenko put the visitors in front, 7:5. Odense fought hard, yet gradually the Russian team were increasing the gap. Four minutes from half-time, Marina Sudakova made the score 15:10, and the teams were separated by four goals at the break (17:13).
A series of Anna Sedoykina’s saves saw Rostov increasing the gap to 21:13 six minutes into the second half, yet Odense did not throw in the white flag. In the 47th minute, they still harboured some hopes after reducing the gap to 25:20.
However, Rostov had a good spell again and led 30:21 four minutes from the buzzer, so even Odense’s five unanswered goals in the remaining time could not affect the outcome.
“It was a tough, physical match,” said Odense right back Mette Tranborg, the game’s best scorer with eight goals. “They started the game very aggressive and were playing very well. In big parts of the match, we were also playing aggressive, but we had too many turn-overs.”
Odense coach Jan Pytlick added: “I think the defence was the big difference between the two teams today. We make 26 goals ourselves, which is OK. It is the defence which we must work on.”
Buducnost (MNE) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) 29:28 (15:12)
Following the victory, Buducnost have 10 points with three matches left, which means they will not drop below the fourth position.
There are two teams on four points each - Odense and Kobenhavn - but they still have to play against other, so it’s not possible for both Danish teams to earn the maximum six points needed to get level with Buducnost.
The game against last-place Brest was more difficult than expected for Buducnost, although they enjoyed a good start and led 6:2 by the 8th minute. In particular, Djurdjina Jaukovic was hard to stop in the first half, finishing it with eight goals.
However, Brest fought back to almost draw level at 12:11, as Amandine Tissier and Constance Mauny led their way in attack.
At half-time, Buducnost led by three goals (15:12), and this gap was more or less preserved long into the second half. But after the hosts increased it to 25:21 with 10 minutes left, Brest had a good spell and Marta Mangue’s three goals in the next five minutes helped the French side to almost catch up again at 26:25.
But Buducnost had Jaukovic, who finished the game with 12 goals. Her impact in the crucial moments helped the hosts to weather the late storm and keep a perfect record in this season’s home games.
Dragan Adzic, Buducnost head coach: “In the final minutes we showed stability when Brest were just a goal behind, which is very important.”
Itana Grbic, Buducnost left wing: “Our great desire to keep ‘Moraca’ unbreakable was decisive. Brest needed time to get into the right rhythm, but when they played as they could, they showed their quality.”
Laurent Bezeau, Brest head coach: “We played well as a team, but we have problems with injuries. It is hard for us to reach the quarter-finals, but this game is useful for the future and the domestic league.”
Amandine Tissier, Brest centre back: “A very good match physically and tactically, I am proud of the team and the coaching staff for the game. We could have won a point.”
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / ew