|18.11.2016, 21:14||◄ last page|
GROUP A REVIEW: Buducnost fielded a youthful second-string team which beat EHF Champions League debutants Glassverket to finish the group matches on a high note.
Youthful Buducnost edge battling Glassverket
Buducnost’s teenagers proved that the two-time EHF Champions League winners have a bright future, holding out in a tense finish to earn a slender 22:21 win over the competition’s newcomers Glassverket in the Moraca Hall on Friday.
Buducnost (MNE) vs Glassverket (NOR) 22:21 (14:9)
Montenegrin giants Buducnost finished their group matches by fielding a youthful second-string team which showed plenty of maturity in a dramatic finish to beat Glassverket in front of an appreciative home crowd in the Moraca Hall on Friday.
Coach Dragan Adzic rested all his regular outfield starters, deploying only Darly De Paula Zoqbi in goal, and his teenage outfit repaid the faith handsomely with a morale-boosting win.
Furious start by Buducnost
With the tried and tested likes of Katarina Bulatovic, Cristina Neagu, Dragana Cvijic and other first-choice stalwarts roaring on their young understudies, 20-year old right wing Dijana Ujkic led a furious start by Buducnost.
Ujkic scored four of her team’s opening six goals as the home side romped into a 6:1 lead within eight minutes, with the bedazzled visitors in disarray and unable to prevent a flurry of goals coming from fast breaks.
Buducnost entertained their fans with free-flowing handball which saw them increase the advantage to 11:5, but Glassverket finally got into their stride and managed to keep the deficit down to five goals (14:9) at half-time.
It was pretty obvious early in the second half that Buducnost would run out of steam sooner rather than later, and the visitors duly took advantage to close the gap to three goals (17:14) early in the second period.
Two unanswered goals briefly restored the home team’s five-goal lead (19:14) before a torrid 6:1 surge by Glassverket forced a thrilling climax, with the score tied at 20:20 as the match headed into the last six minutes.
Facing adversity, Buducnost again struck twice without reply before Emilie Christensen reduced the arrears to 22:21.
Glassverket could even have forced a draw with their last possession, but Zoqbi – who had made several excellent stops in the second half – denied the visitors with a composed reflex save on the buzzer.
Djurdjina Jaukovic led all scorers with six goals for Buducnost, while Ujkic and Djurdjina Malovic netted five each.
Christensen and Martine Wolff scored four a piece for Glassverket.
While Buducnost must wait for the outcome of Thüringer HC vs Metz Handball to find out whether they or their French rivals finish top of Group A, Glassverket have ended their Champions League debut bottom of the table with zero points.
However, the Norwegian team can now look forward to their participation in the first-ever edition of the Women's EHF Cup Group Phase, for which the draw will take place next Thursday, 24 November, in Vienna.
Dragan Adzic, Buducnost head coach: “This is a great experience for our young players and for me as a coach. I am glad that we achieved the victory without the most experienced players. This will benefit us all by May, when we believe we play the most important matches of the season.”
Itana Grbic, Buducnost left wing: “The coach had prepared us as if it was a Champions League final, but it is more fun and more experience for us when the game is uncertain.”
Geir Oustorp, Glassverket head coach: “I am very pleased with the performance in the second half. I am happy that we played in the Champions League and this is a great experience for my young team. We look forward to continue to compete in the EHF Cup.”
Martine Wolff, Glassverket line player: “I am happy that we played like this in front of a great audience. Buducnost deservedly got the victory.”
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / ew