Rostov back on track after beating Buducnost; Metz win French derby
Rostov-Don had entered the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round as leaders of Group 1 but yielded the position to Buducnost after the opening matches last week. On Saturday afternoon, the two heavyweights met in Russia, and the home side claimed the two points following a tight fight, 24:22.
The two French teams in the group were separated by five points before their clash in Brest, and after the match on Saturday night, the distance grew to seven. A comfortable 32:21 victory saw Metz climb to first place in Group 1, while Brest sit bottom of the table with two points.
Rostov and Metz now have nine points; one more than Buducnost
Anna Sen scores eight goals for Rostov; Milena Raicevic nets the same number for Buducnost
Brest suffer their third straight defeat in the competition
Grace Zaadi and Allison Pineau top scored in the all-French clash, with seven goals apiece
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Buducnost (MNE) 24:22 (13:11)
Both teams had a slow start and struggled in attack. Rostov’s Anna Sen opened the scoreboard in the third minute before Itana Grbic added Buducnost’s first goal almost eight minutes into the game, drawing level at 1:1.
Most of the first period featured a close battle, and the rivals were level at 11:11 one minute and a half ahead of the break before Viktoriya Borshchenko and Anna Sen pulled the hosts in front, 13:11. By that time, Buducnost had lost Tatjana Brnovic, who received a red card following three two-minute suspensions.
Rostov missed Anna Vyakhireva, who is still injured, yet Borshchenko and Sen had a solid impact in attack, while Mayssa Pessoa made a number of important saves in goal. Early in the second half, the Russian champions pulled clear at 15:11, much to the joy of the local crowd.
“It was a very difficult game and the most emotional for me in all the time at Rostov. It was not easy without Anna Vyakhireva, but another Anna, Anna Sen, did a great job,” said Rostov coach Ambros Martin.
The physical Buducnost side received several two-minute suspensions, yet they fought hard, and Raicevic pulled them level at 17:17 midway through the second half. However, Rostov restored a four-goal advantage five minutes from full-time (23:19).
The last minutes were nervous for the home team, as Buducnost slashed the gap to 24:22, and Kseniya Makeeva received a red card – but Rostov ultimately celebrated their first victory of the current main round.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere in the hall, thanks to the supporters! We need to continue the same way,” concluded Martin.
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 21:32 (9:16)
Early in the match, Metz already showed why they boast the most effective defence in the Women’s EHF Champions League, as they conceded just one goal to lead 3:1 by the 10thminute.
However, Brest suddenly turned the tide. Led by Alison Pineau, the home side enjoyed a 5:0 run in the next five minutes, grabbing a 6:3 advantage. Yet Metz’s slowdown did not last long – in the remaining 15 minutes before the break, their defence again looked rock-solid as usual, allowing just three goals and helping the visitors to comfortably pull ahead to 16:9 at half-time.
A red card received by Brest goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux did not make the home team’s life any easier. In the second half, Grace Zaadi, Laura Flippes and Marion Maubon scored from all angles for Metz, and the team’s advantage continued to grow.
Midway through the second period, the visitors led 24:14, removing all questions about the outcome. They did not slow down, winning the derby by 11 goals.
“There is a lot of frustration and disappointment. Losing against Metz is not shameful, but the gap is of such magnitude that it makes us unhappy,” said Brest coach Laurent Bezeau. “Defensively, we have some problems. We lack weight in defence and it is often the best defensives that win.”Author: Sergey Nikolaev / cg