Vipers stun Vyakhireva-less Rostov
Vipers had never beaten Rostov-Don in three previous attempts on court, but on Saturday they did it when it counted — in the first-leg DELO EHF Champions League quarter-final. A 34:27 victory gives the Norwegian side an advantage before the second leg on Sunday, where Rostov will need a strong comeback.
While Vipers Kristiansand were technically a home team Rostov-Don on Saturday, the game took place in Russia.
QUARTER-FINAL, FIRST LEG
Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Rostov-Don (RUS) 34:27 (19:12)
- Rostov took a 6:3 lead 10 minutes into the match as Grace Zaadi scored three penalties
- Vipers hit back to score as many as 16 goals in the 20 remaining minutes of the first half, boasting a 76 per cent shot efficiency at half-time
- the Norwegian side led by 10 goals early in the second half, before Rostov, powered by Zaadi and Vladlena Bobrovnikova, improved their defence and closed the gap somewhat
- Rostov played without their leader Anna Vyakhireva, who was injured in a recent training session, as well as without her sister Polina Kuznetsova
- Vipers’ 41-year-old goalkeeper Katrine Lunde recorded 11 saves against her former team Rostov
Mørk and Løke in good shape
Vipers’ experienced leaders Nora Mørk and Heidi Løke have suffered from injuries recently, and their participation in the quarter-final matches against Rostov was in question.
However, both Norwegian stars travelled to Russia, and both made a big contribution to their team’s win: Mørk ended the match with nine goals, and Løke added six.
I’m really sad. Vipers played good — with power and speed. As for us, we did a lot of mistakes. We did come back in the second half, but it was not enough. I hope we will play better tomorrow. I believe in our team.