FCM shocks CSM in Denmark; amazing Györ comeback in Rostov
CSM were leading 10:9 at half-time, but the current title holders could not overcome their attacking woes, as FCM bounced back admirably after a 31:19 loss against Györ last round and recorded an impressive 24:21.
Rostov led by as many as four goals with 18 minutes to go and then by three goals with eight minutes to go, but Györ’s experience and defence were enough to steal an impressive win; their second in a row this season.
• Considered hot favourites for this season in the Women’s EHF Champions League, Rostov recorded their second defeat after the one against CSM
• Kari Grimsbø was Györ’s hero, with four decisive saves in the final four minutes
• A 38 per cent attacking efficiency and 11 turnovers were CSM’s undoing in Denmark
• The Hungarian side will meet CSM Bucuresti next week, in the remake of last year’s final
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) 27:28, 14:12
Having the chance to see a face-off in the group matches between the two biggest favourites in this year’s Women’s EHF Champions League, according to the ehfCL.com power rankings, is a privilege for the fans, but a ruthless encounter for both teams.
It was a key game for Rostov-Don, who had already lost against CSM Bucuresti in the previous round and going into the match, the Russian team could not afford any more slip-ups.
Lunde and Vyakhireva combine for Rostov comeback
But it was Györ who enjoyed a brighter start to the game, as Rostov’s aggressive 3:2:1 defence was swiftly overcome by the intelligence of last year’s finalists. The Hungarian side took advantage of Rostov’s tactics by passing the game to the wing, with Bernadett Bodi scoring three goals that saw Györ take a 9:7 advantage after 20 minutes.
While Rostov’s roster may seem overcrowded with talented backs, no player managed to impress against CSM, nor in the first minutes against Györ. However, the MVP of the Olympic Games in August, Anna Vyakhireva, finally found her form and sparked the Russian comeback in the final 10 minutes of the first half, scoring five goals for Rostov, while Katrine Lunde made seven important saves to keep Györ at bay.
Grimsbø helps Györ
A 7:3 partial for Rostov turned the game on its head and saw the hosts take a 14:12 lead at half-time. Failing to tie the game at 17 after a technical fault from Nora Mörk, Györ had to overcome a four-goal deficit, a 21:17 lead that prompted a time-out from coach, Ambros Martin, who begged his team to resume playing as a team, not to resort to individual solutions.
Martin’s tactical plan was mastered by his players, as Györ managed a 5:1 advance between the 38th and 48th minute to tie the game at 22. It was another timeout taken by Jan Leslie who inspired a 3:0 partial for Rostov to see the Russian powerhouse jump to a 25:22 lead.
But the game was far from over. A Kari Aalvik Grimsbø inspired comeback, with three saves in one attack for Rostov, including a 7-metre shot, saw Györ take their steps forward and claim the lead for the first time in the second half, with only 95 seconds to spare. With no real plan after a Jan Leslie timeout, Rostov did not manage to score and the Hungarian champions earned their second win in a row, 28:27, after defeating Midtjylland last round.
Said after the game:
Ambros Martin, the coach of Györi Audi ETO KC: We are satisfied with the result, but not with all actions of my team. Rostov-Don is a very good team with quality players. That’s why I was satisfied with the last minutes of the game; we showed the psychology of winners. I would like to congratulate my team for overcoming the fight and the stuggle.
Eduarda Amorim, left back of Györi Audi ETO KC: Rostov-Don played very good on all positions, but we didn't play as compacted as we usually do. It was surprising. Rostov played much better than one week ago in Bucharest. Why did we win? We kept confidence at the end of the game and we remained calm.
Jan Leslie, the coach of Rostov-Don: It was very hard game. Small thing are important in such games as these. Gyori is the best team in the world. We are also good team and we had to win. We played well for 55 minutes, but we relaxed in the end and it proved to be enough to lose the match.
Anna Vyakhireva, right wing of Rostov-Don: Both teams showed a real champions league game. It was worthy match. The first half was more stable, but in the second half, we had ups and downs and committed many errors. It’s pity that our decline happened at the end.
FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 24:21 (9:10)
There was a tale of two different teams in Ikast, as FCM was fresh off a 31:19 drubbing against Györ, while CSM impressed against Rostov, 24:21, in the previous round.
The roles changed in Denmark, however, as the hosts took advantage of CSM’s problems, with the Romanian side failing to find the right balance in attack.
Good defence, fragile attack for CSM
It took Midtjylland 6 minutes and 57 seconds to score their first goal, as CSM confirmed their defensive prowess already proven in the first game against Rostov. But Paula Ungureanu’s amazing five saves – including two seven-metre shots - were not followed by easy goals from the title holders.
In fact, CSM had real trouble to find the way to the goal, scoring only three times in the first 15 minutes, with Sabine Englert boasting a 73 per cent saving percentage, with 8 saves in front of Torstenson, Martin and Mehmedovic.
While CSM’s attack could not sink much lower than 25 per cent boasted in the first part of the game, the Romanian side managed to reduce the impact of the eight and a half minutes in which they failed to score.
As the title holders constantly improved, Midtjylland managed to keep the lead until the final minute of the first half, when Martin scored to put CSM in front, 10:9.
FCM’s decisive fast breaks
A 6:2 run to open the half for Midtjylland saw the Danish side take a 15:12 lead, mainly thanks to CSM’s attacking woes, with the Romanian side failing to find the easy way to Englert’s goal.
A 3:0 run for CSM tied the game at 15, but two unanswered goals put back FCM in the driving seat. It was the decisive period of the game, with the Romanian powerhouse failing to recover from the shock.
A 9:2 score line in fast breaks was the decisive factor in the game, with CSM’s turnovers punished by the Danish pacy wingers, especially Trine Ostergaard Jensen, FCM’s top scorer, with five goals.
The 49 per cent shot efficiency, the lack of creativity in attack and the expeditious solutions in attack were CSM’s undoing, with the title holders losing an important game, before the showdown against Györ next Friday.
Sabine Englert, FCM goalkeeper: "This was a great victory for us - beating the reigning champions of the EHF Champions League. After the defeat last weekend away at Györ it's nice to get back on track and win our first points in the group. We did not expect a win, since Bucurest is a top team in Europe, but we knew that on our best days we can beat them. Defensively we played very well today, and then we hit them again and again on our fast and efficient counterattacks. That's what led us to victory."