Rostov sweat against FTC – but seal first place
While Rostov-Don might have had some issues throughout the season, they finished the DELO EHF Champions League group phase on a high on Saturday, securing first place in group A with a 26:24 win against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria.
Rostov's strong back court line only combined for 10 goals, but the Russian side never looked back once they restored their lead in the second half.
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 26:24 (12:12)
- with four lead changes in the first half, Rostov and FTC traded blows, with the Hungarian side taking a three-goal lead, 9:6, but failing to protect it
- FTC’s top scorer this season, Katrin Klujber, did not score against Rostov, but German left back Emily Bölk and Dutch right wing Angela Malestein combined for 15 goals
- a strong 5:1 run – spanning from the 40th minute to the 51st minute – was the Russian side’s building block for their win
- Rostov’s top scorer this season, Russian right wing Iuliia Managarova, was the team’s best scorer against FTC, with seven goals
- with 21 points, the Russian side won the group and will face Podravka Vegeta in the next round, while FTC finished fourth and will meet either Buducnost or SCM Ramnicu Valcea
Rostov still need more from their stars
It was once again a strong defensive outing against FTC that sealed the deal for Rostov-Don, who claimed another crucial win, 26:24.
Yet Rostov may need their stars to perform better in the knockout phase, especially right back Anna Vyakhireva. The 25-year old Russian has not scored more than five goals in a DELO EHF Champions League match since November 2020.
"I think we prepared well. FTC plays some of the best and beautiful handball in Europe. We had problems in the second half, but we were able to punish them. But we played not very good in defence. We won our group, it’s a first step for the trophy," said Rostov-Don head coach Per Johansson.
"We knew that both teams don’t have full squads. Anyway, the level of the game was very good. We made some troubles for Rostov-Don but I’m sad – because we could cause more troubles," said FTC-Cargo Hungaria head coach Gabor Elek.