Brest reach first final after thrilling shoot-out
It was a highly anticipated semi-final expected to go down to the wire, and Györi Audi ETO KC and Brest Bretagne Handball delivered exactly that. Not only was extra time required to find a winner, but a penalty shoot-out, and Brest became the first confirmed finalists in the DELO EHF Champions League 2020/21 as they defeated Györ 27:25.
Brest levelled the game two seconds from the end of regular time, after Györ had fought back from a half-time deficit and taken the upper hand. Following the nail-biting extra time and then a shootout, it was Isabelle Gulldén who scored the winning penalty for Brest to reach the final for the first time ever.
Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) 25:27 (23:23)(20:20)(8:11)
- following a level score after 60 minutes and a thrilling period of extra time, the result was finally decided in a penalty shoot-out that saw a save from Cleopatre Darleux and the last goal from Isabelle Gulldén as the key moments
- the key for Brest settling into the game after some early nerves was goalkeeper Darleux, whose saves gave her team the chance to take the upper hand in the opening half
- thanks to three straight goals from line player Sladjana Pop-Lazic, Brest turned a 5:4 lead in the 14th minute into an 8:4 advantage by the 20th, creating the first difference of more than one in the match
- Györ mounted a painstaking comeback that only took firm hold midway through the second half. With Silje Solberg replacing Leynaud and having a great game, Györ levelled at 15:15 in the 44th minute
- in the 58th minute, Györ were in front at 20:18, before a strike from Pop-Lazic then a goal from Djurdjina Jaukovic with two seconds on the clock levelled the game, sending it to regular time
- several players reached personal milestones during the game — the season’s top scorer Ana Gros passed the 120-goal mark for the 2020/21, while Isabelle Gulldén hit 40 goals at the DELO EHF FINAL4. Györ back Eduarda Amorim climbed to fourth on the all-time top scorer list at the DELO EHF FINAL4, passing Andrea Lekic, and Amandine Leynaud played her 12th DELO EHF FINAL4 match, extending the record she holds
Highly anticipated semi-final sees first penalty decision
Three of the last four matches between Brest and Györ prior to the DELO EHF FINAL4 ended in draws, and the other had resulted in a one-goal win for Györ. It was expected that the opening semi-final could very well see another close contest, so it can be of little surprise that when the buzzer for end of regular time sounded, the clash became only the second semi-final in history at the DELO EHF FINAL4 to be decided in extra time.
And when no winner could be found after extra time, the game was sent to penalties, becoming the first semi-final in history at the DELO EHF FINAL4 decided in a shootout.
The score of 20:20 at 60 minutes represented the lowest number of goals in regular time in a DELO EHF FINAL4 game, after Buducnost and Györ recorded a result of 20:21 in the 2016 semi-final.
It seems like a real Cinderella story. There is a lot of excitement behind us, but we are winners now and we are not afraid of tomorrow