Vardar remain perfect; Metz take vital points
Vardar earned their eighth win in a row in the Women’s EHF Champions League, beating Bietigheim 38:26 away from home.
The match between Metz and FTC, who were level on six points, was tighter, with the French side ultimately winning by two goals, 27:25.
· Vardar repeated their eight-game winning run from the previous season, which is a club record
· Metz claimed their first points in the main round
· Vardar top the group with ten points; Metz are second-placed with eight
SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 26:38 (14:16)
The German side had promised to do their best against the favourites from Skopje - and they fought hard for a long time, even if the final score may hardly suggest it.
Vardar, who had been looking for their eighth straight victory, had a slow start and struggled early in the game. The visitors were not focused and lost the ball too often, while Bietigheim, playing seven-against-six in attack, converted their chances well and were up 8:6 halfway through the first half.
Yet after a time-out called by Irina Dibirova, Vardar turned the game around and led 10:8, then 15:10 five minutes from half-time before Bietigheim reduced the gap to 16:14 at the break.
However, that was all the home team could do as Vardar were strongly dominant in the second half. Andrea Penezic, Andrea Lekic, Dragana Cvijic and their teammates easily scored one goal after another, while Bietigheim had no energy left to resist the onslaught.
Vardar's lead reached double digits with 11 minutes remaining (31:21), and the Macedonian side showed no signs of slowing down.
Vardar stand top of Group 2 with the maximum of 12 points, while Bietigheim remain last-placed with two.
Metz Handball (FRA) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 27:25 (13:10)
The beginning of the match in Metz featured a very defensive game. It was hard for attackers of both sides to make much of an impact, so the score was just 1:1 eight minutes into the game.
However, then the situation changed as FTC took control of the game, leading 6:3. The lead did not last long and Metz drew level at 6:6.
Marina Rajcic did very well in Metz's goal, making a string of saves, and her performance propelled the home side to a three-goal lead at the interval.
In the second half, the hosts more or less maintained their advantage, which was enough for them to claim their first victory in the main round.
The closing minutes proved to be quite exciting with FTC reducing the gap to 26:25, before Xenia Smits removed all questions by scoring a beautiful goal for Metz with 40 seconds to go.
Ana Gros was Metz's top scorer in the match with 10 goals, while Viktoria Lukacs netted seven times for FTC.Author: Sergey Nikolaev / cor