EHF Champions League

FTC get back to winning ways after vintage Pena performance

Adrian Costeiu / jw

FTC get back to winning ways after vintage Pena performance

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria had a disappointing group phase, but the start of 2019 has brought them their second away win of the EHF Champions League season. The Hungarian side managed to bounce back in the second half against Thüringer HC, 35:32.

  • Gabor Elek’s side leapfrogged Krim and are now fourth in the group, with four points, while Thüringer now require an extremely strong finish to the group to progress.
  • Nerea Pena scored 14 times against the German side, one goal short of the season record, which was set by her teammate Aniko Kovacsics in the home game against Bietigheim
  • FTC face Györ in a Hungarian derby next week, while Thüringer travel to Vipers Kristiansand


Thüringer HC (GER) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 32:35 (19:19)

In desperate need of a positive result to kickstart their quarter-final challenge, Thüringer enjoyed a flawless start to the game, with experienced right wing Lydia Jakubisova scoring the first three goals, as the German side jumped to a 5:1 lead after only six minutes.

FTC coach Gabor Elek opted not to call an immediate time-out, allowing his team to recover – and they did exactly that. With Nerea Pena in superb form, scoring 12 goals from 14 shots, FTC remained close and tied the game for the first time after 26 minutes, 17:17.

As Thüringer started to falter, FTC were showing more and more grit in defence and added inspiration in attack, as Pena was joined by playmaker Aniko Kovacsics, with the Hungarian side taking their first lead, 23:22, after 38 minutes.

While the vistitors were already heading towards a likely win, it was 19-year old left wing Greta Marton who stole the show. Marton scored four of FTC’s five goals between the 40th and 49th minute to give them a three-goal lead, 29:26.

While line players Meike Schmelzer and Josefine Huber kept Thüringer afloat until the end, FTC ultimately proved too strong.

The 35:32 result was enough to give FTC their fourth win of the season and they are now fourth in the group, with four points. On the other hand, Thüringer must secure positive results against CSM Bucuresti and Vipers Kristiansand to hope for a quarter-final berth.

Post-match statements

Herbert Müller, Thüringer HC coach: "It was a great handball game. We simply could not get Nera Pena under control. The team fought and was close to a victory. In the end, strength and a little luck was missing."

Gabor Elek, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria coach: "The team did a good job today. Due to many injuries, both teams had to improvise a lot. The game was on par. I'm looking forward to the second leg in Budapest."

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