GROUP B REVIEW: HC Vardar played an impressive game against HC Leipzig and earned their first group match win this season.
Vardar cruise past Leipzig in Skopje
Following their turbulent week with the dismissal of head coach Indira Kastratovic, HC Vardar produced an excellent performance in the second round of matches, getting an emphatic win against HC Leipzig 41:24.
Macedonian champions have three points after two games, while the German side are yet to earn their first points in the competition
Vardar earned their 30th win in the EHF Champions League
Aco Stankovski, previously assistant coach for Indira Kastratovic, took over as ‘caretaker coach’
HC Leipzig have played both of their group matches to date away from home, resulting in two defeats
Jovanka Radicevic was Vardar’s top scorer with six goals, while Anne Hubinger and Ewgenija Minevskaja scored five times each for Leipzig
HC Vardar (MKD) vs HC Leipzig (GER) 41:24 (19:14)
Both opponents felt pressure before this clash due to their lacklustre performance in the first round of matches last week.
For Vardar, a home draw against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria was certainly not an expected result, and the club management decided to take action and part company with head coach Indira Kastratovic.
HC Leipzig were also not pleased with their voyage to Astrakhan in Russia where the German side lost to the Women’s EHF Champions League debutants Astrakhanochka.
But Vardar - led this evening by former assistant to Kastratovic and officially ‘Caretaker Coach’, Aco Stankovski - with their powerful squad were the obvious favourites and they lived up to this status by grabbing two points.
Powerful start for Vardar
Vardar took control of the game from the very first minute. The host team were determined to show their domination as early as possible, and they easily managed it. French national team goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud made great saves at one end while Jovanka Radicevic and Andrea Penezic were effective in attack.
As a result, going into the 10th minute Vardar were already leading 7:1 lead but Leipzig woke up from their lethargy and started to score with more regularity.
During the rest of the half the visitors were on par with the hosts, who appeared to get a bit complacent. but the advantage achieved earlier in the match helped the Skopje team to keep a comfortable lead for most of the rest of the half.
In the 27th minute Norman Rentsch’s team slashed the gap to 17:13, yet Vardar restored the five-goal difference by half-time (19:14).
The passionate home crowd could have been worried with the re-emergence of their opponents continuing after the break but the Macedonian team did their best to remove all questions as soon as possible.
The higher quality of their international squad was visible again, and Vardar started to systematically build up their advantage once more.
At times, the game was one-way traffic as the guests could not find any antidote to Vardar’s goal after goal. The stretch from the 43th until the 54th minute was especially impressive as the Macedonian side won it 11:1 and with it, sealed the game.
As many as 10 players scored for Vardar, with Jovanka Radicevic being the best with six goals. For Leipzig, Anne Hubinger and Ewgenija Minevskaja were top scorers with five goals each.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev/amc