Krim boost main round chance with third home win
RK Krim Mercator began Round 6 for Group D in the Women’s EHF Champions League with a 27:22 victory against Team Esbjerg. The win moves Krim up to six points on the table, while Esbjerg remain on four.
• The Round 6 win was RK Krim Mercator’s third home victory in a row
• Team Esbjerg have now lost their last three group matches, after opening their campaign with two wins
• Right back Alja Koren, who scored five goals total in Krim’s first three group matches, scored six goals in the first half alone
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN) 27:22 (13:13)
With their third win in three home games, Krim gave their chances of reaching the main round a tremendous boost. Before the match, Krim coach Uros Bregar rated Team Esbjerg as the best team in the group, but his players did their best to prove him wrong from the start of the game on Saturday.
Unlike the first meeting between the two teams, which Esbjerg won 35:25, the Slovenian side were able to follow their opponents from the start.
"I wasn't pleased with the defence at the start the game, but in the second half after five minutes I saw that the energy was real, that we had a big opportunity to beat such a great team as Esbjerg - and that happened," said coach Bregar. "Misa Marincek has raised her level of defending and that was a big help for us. We had some problems in attack, but we made 27 goals and received 22, so that proves our good defence and fighting spirit. The atmosphere in hall was great and I'm very happy."
Koren stuns Esbjerg
Esbjerg coach Lars Frederiksen chose to start with Spanish international Lara Gonzales in defence, and at the beginning, this step resulted in a more solid central wall than in the previous matches. But the tactic meant the visitors allowed space in the left side of their defence – space that benefited Krim right back Alja Koren.
After scoring only five goals in her team’s first three group matches this season, Koren scored six goals on six attempts in the first half alone.
Omoregie, Bajramoska and Marincek step up
After Koren played a major part in keeping the first half equal, centre back Elizabeth Omoregie and left back Mirjeta Bajramoska took command of Krim’s attack while Misa Marincek improved in goal. Omoregie was particularly strong, scoring eight goals as Krim dominated the second half completely.
Krim’s defence in front of Marincek also stepped up and allowed Esbjerg to score only four goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
With several seven-goal leads, Krim came near the 10-goal distance Esbjerg recorded at the end of the first match at the start of the season, before finishing with a five-goal advantage.
With the six points they now tally after three wins, Krim have a very good chance of reaching the main round – but Esbjerg, on four, can still hope for a place in the next phase too.