GROUP 3 REVIEW: The Slovenian side confirmed their status as favourites against Conversano to win Qualification Group 3.
Krim join Group D with decisive victory
RK Krim Mercator earned the spot in the Women’s EHF Champions League 2016/17 Group Matches with a clear win in the final game of Qualification Group 3 in Ljubljana. Uros Bregar’s team easily beat Italian champions Indeco Conversano, and therefore advance to Group D, where they join Larvik, IK Savehof and Team Esbjerg in the next phase.
"This is amazing! We really wanted this and we made it,” said Krim’s Ines Amon following their qualification. “I can't wait for first match in Champions League. If we will play like today it will be great! Skandinavian teams are playing a fast game and they are really good. It's a pretty long distance to there, but I think the motivation will be bigger because of that.”
• Experienced RK Krim Mercator were too strong for debutants Indeco Conversano, who scored just two goals during the first 16 minutes
• Laura Kamdop was the top scorer for Krim with seven goals at 100% accuracy, and Arassay Duran Morens tallied the same number of goals for Conversano
• MKS Selgros Lublin beat IUVENTA Michalovce 33:21 (16:12) to finish third in Group 3
• Lublin will proceed directly to Round 3 of the EHF Cup while Michalovce will begin in Round 2 of the same competition
• Katarzyna Kozimur was the top scorer for Lublin with seven goals
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs Indeco Conversano (ITA) 37:16 (20:7)
Difference from the start
The hosts held a clear advantage from the very beginning and did not allow their opponents to play their own game. Conversano needed almost nine minutes to score their first goal, and took nearly another six to add the second.
Krim were much more efficient in attack and the difference between the teams was clearly reflected on court and on the score board.
A key factor that contributed to Krim’s dominance was the excellent game from goalkeeper Misa Marincek. In the first half she made a number of great saves which allowed her teammates to score from fast breaks and steadily increase their lead.
Kamdop shines on the line
Conversano’s Laura Celeste Rotondo was a star against Lublin in the semi-final, but on Sunday Krim’s players kept her under control. Rotondo still managed four goals, but the top scorer for the Italian side was Arassay Duran Morens, who struck seven times.
Krim’s goals were distributed more or less evenly, yet the best scorer with seven goals was French international and line player Laura Kamdop.
IUVENTA Michalovce (SVK) vs MKS Selgros Lublin (POL) 21:33 (12:16)
The Polish champions recovered after Saturday’s shock, when they recorded a surprise loss to Indeco Conversano in the semi-final, and beat Slovakia’s IUVENTA Michalovce by a comfortable margin in the battle for third place.
“Today we showed a much better performance than yesterday. We were very angry and sad after yesterday’s [semi-final] defeat. Today we showed that we can play handball,” said Lublin’s Weronika Gawlik after the match. “If we will play like today I see Lublin in the final match of the EHF Cup.”
Both of these ambitious teams strove to advance to the Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches, so their respective semi-final defeats were quite a blow – but both wanted to finish the qualification tournament third to secure a place in a more advanced stage of the EHF Cup.
As the result the game was very tight during the first 20 minutes, before the Polish champions increased their advantage from 8:7 to 14:8 and eventually led 16:12 at half-time.
Efficient Polish side
After the break, Lublin continued to build on their advantage thanks to their clearly more efficient attack with Katarzyna Kozimur the top scorer on seven goals, though she was dominant mainly through the first period.
In the second half, it was other players such as Marta Gega, Dagmara Nocun and Joanna Drabik that were most important for Lublin and helped secure the comfortable victory.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cg