Bucharest are defeated in Metz but take FINAL4 ticket
After winning by 13 goals at home last weekend, CSM Bucuresti were shaken in Metz in the second leg of their quarter-final tie. While consistently down by eight or nine goals in the second half, the Romanian side managed to control the deficit and booked their ticket to the Women’s EHF FINAL4 for the third time in a row.
- Metz are defeated in the quarter-finals for a second time
- CSM’s top scorers Cristina Neagu and Isabelle Gullden net a combined 15
- Manon Houette was Metz' best scorer with seven goals
Quarter-final Leg 2
Metz Handball (FRA) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 27:20 (14:9)
Despite all experts saying they were never going to wrest back the 13-goal deficit they took into the second quarter-final, Metz dived head-first into the game.
A strong defence and good saves by Marija Rajcic gave the French side the opportunity to take an early lead. Manon Houette and Laura Flippes were scoring easily, and if they had not missed two early seven-metre goals, Metz would have been ahead by more.
The French club were consistent throughout the first half, while Bucharest could only rely on Cristina Neagu and Isabelle Gullden to keep them on track. A 4:0 run for Metz before half-time put the French ahead by six, before a last-second Gullden goal kept CSM in the run for qualification.
Metz began the second half as they had ended the first and seemed confident they could still claw back the eight goals they needed. Another three goals by Houette on fast-breaks and one by Jurswailly Luciano allowed Metz to lead by nine goals with 25 minutes remaining.
CSM experience pays off
The home side never managed to pull into a 10-goal lead. Thanks to their experience, Bucharest never panicked; Jelena Grubisic managed a couple of key saves and Neagu netted more long-distance shots.
Buoyed up by their yellow-clad fans, Metz cruised nine goals ahead twice more, at the 47th and the 53rd minutes. But that was too little and too late. Ultimately the hosts’ seven-goal victory left them down six on aggregate.
Metz's coach Manu Mayonnade expressed the side’s disappointment.
“When you see how well we were able to play tonight, there's a lot of frustration,” he said. “If we hadn't played the worst game of our season in Bucharest, we might have been able to compete for a FINAL4 ticket.”
CSM right back Camille Ayglon-Saurina said: “We knew that coming here would be very tough, but we managed to limit the damages in the middle of the second half. Our experience helped to stay in the game when they were nine goals ahead. We are, of course, very happy to go back to Budapest and hopefully we can lift the trophy."
Author: Kevin Domas/jh