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GROUP 2 REVIEW: CSM’s woes continued in the main round, as the title holders needed a last-ditch comeback to earn a point against Larvik in a 26:26 draw
Epic comeback seals a point for CSM Bucuresti
Last year's Women's EHF Champions League winners CSM Bucuresti had to stage a late fightback to rescue a point at home to Larvik HK, in a thrilling 26:26 draw.
There was literally no room for error for CSM Bucuresti, after a dissapointing showing in the competition so far.
The title holders were rock bottom in the group with only two points, therefore they needed a positive result to increases their hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals.
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Larvik HK (NOR) 26:26 (12:13)
It was a bright start for Larvik, who exploited CSM’s defensive woes and jumped into a 3:1 lead after only four minutes.
But the Swedish duo of Isabelle Gullden and Linnea Torstenson worked wonders for CSM, with the classy backs getting the better of Larvik’s defence to put the hosts into an unexpected 9:5 lead. That put Aurelian Rosca’s side in pole position for their first win of the main round.
However, Larvik, who had a wealth of international experience, including playmaker Gro Hammerseng-Edin, in their squad, managed to turn the game on its head, thanks to a 7:2 scoring run between the 19th and the 28th minute.
CSM with no answers
It was the Norwegian side who had the upper hand at half-time, leading 13:12, as CSM looked worn out and without the spark of creativity needed to seize back the momentum.
With no answer in defence, no last-ditch saves from Ungureanu and Grubisic, and with a meagre 55% shooting efficiency, CSM found themselves with a four-goal deficit (15:19) with 15 minutes to go.
A Gullden-inspired comeback had CSM back in the game (21:21) after a 6:2 scoring run, but Larvik found a way to improve their defence and they got themselves a three-goal lead (24:21).
2 minutes and 29 seconds of doom for Larvik
The Norwegian side maintained their advantage, 26:23, with 2 minutes and 29 seconds of the match to go, only to find themselves with no answer to an amazing comeback from CSM.
Berenguer, Gullden and Niombla scored three unanswered goals, to seal a totally unexpected point. CSM are now ranked fifth and remain in the fight for a quarter-final berth, while Larvik stay in third place with five points.
The result left both coaches taking a cautious tone in their post-match interviews.
"I want to congratulate our players for believing in a positive result until the end, and managing to overturn the three goal deficit in the end. We cannot afford to make any mistakes from now on," said CSM Bucarusti coach Aurelian Rosca.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ap