Impressive Larvik take advantage of CSM’s woes, Györ power through to quarter-finals
Larvik are still unbeaten in the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round this season after a 35:33 win against title-holders CSM Bucuresti in which both defences had off-nights. The Romanian side lost after a run of five unbeaten games. A thorough win for Györ against Krim, 34:17, handed them a quarter-final berth, as the Hungarian side became the first team from the group to qualify for the next stage. Krim needs a win against CSM next week to get back on track.
A 76% shot efficiency rate was Larvik’s main advantage in a game in which CSM’s defence never showed up
Amanda Kurtovic scored eight goals for Larvik, while Thea Mørk had her best-ever game in the Women’s EHF Champions League, with seven goals
CSM’s worst defensive display in the competition came in another away game, against Györ, in the group phase, with 33 goals conceded
Györ cannot fall lower than the third place in the group, and they could secure first place next week with a win against team Esbjerg
Krim started the main round phase with six points but have lost all four games in the past month, scoring just one goal in the last 18 minutes of the game
Anita Görbicz scored 10 times for Györ
Larvik (NOR) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 35:33 (18:18)
It was a tough start for Larvik with two technical faults that translated into two easy goals for CSM, scored via powerful shots from Linnea Torstensson.
The start set the tone for the whole first half as Torstensson, who has not had the best of seasons so far, scored four times in the first 12 minutes as CSM jumped to a 9:6 lead thanks to their powerful nine-metre line.
However, CSM’s meltdown, a common theme this season, came sooner rather than later as Larvik tied the game at 11:11. This was thanks to a 5:1 run, spurred by a flurry of counter-attacks, finished by a perfect Linn Kristin Riegelhuth.
With both defences not living up to their usual standards, Larvik and CSM continued to trade goals, as the Romanian side took advantage from a near-perfect nine-metre line, while the hosts surprised their counterparts with their wings and line player Marit Frafjord.
Flawless start of the second half for Larvik
The Norwegian side managed to take the lead for the first time in the 28th minute, 17:16 and kicked of the second half with a 4:0 partial, to ease into a 22:18 lead, that seemed unassailable for the Romanian side.
Dumbfounded by Larvik’s strong start, CSM needed a time-out to come back into their senses, which they did, cutting the lead to only one goal, 23:22, with 20 minutes to go.
But Larvik did not budge and continued to demolish CSM’s defence with that stellar performance from Thea Mørk.
A 7:2 run was the proverbial nail in CSM’s coffin, even if the Romanian side attempted to mount another excellent comeback, like in the first match between these two side earlier in the competition.
No defence for CSM
As CSM managed to cut the lead to only two goals (32:30) with eight minutes remaining, their defence had no answer for Larvik’s attacks with the two goalkeepers, Paula Ungureanu and Jelena Grubisic, having disappointing displays for the away side.
While CSM did not gave way until the final seconds, Larvik’s experience was enough to see them clear to a third home win this season which brought the Norwegian side closer to a quarter-final berth.
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) 17:34 (10:18)
While Györ might have needed only one point to progress to the next phase, the Hungarian powerhouse wanted to make a statement after an underwhelming 27:27 draw against Larvik in the previous round.
The game against Krim was exactly what Györ needed, as the Slovenian side were seriously depleted, playing without rising star Elisabeth Omoregie and Laura Kamdop, their French line player.
Like in the previous game between the two sides, it was rather a question about the goal difference, not about the winner, as Györ took the early lead and never looked back.
Perfect fast-breaks help Györ steer clear
Györ’s plan was clear: excel in defence, win as many balls as possible and then convert into lethal counter-attacks.
The danger came from all sides of the Hungarian attack, as the fast-breaks were finished by Görbicz, Duda Amorim or Nora Mørk, as Györ jumped to a 11:5 lead after only 15 minutes.
Having an inspired Eva Kiss between the goalposts, Györ went full throttle in the first half and established a 18:10 lead at the break as Krim went into the changing rooms with a shocking 27% attack efficiency.
Krim score once in 18 minutes
While it was expected for Krim to mount a comeback, the Slovenian side’s lack of depth and Györ’s stubbornness and experience were enough to see another blowout.
Like in the first match between the two, Krim lost by a 17-goal margin, but at one stage it looked like Györ was not able to deliver such a big win in Ljubljana.
But a huge emphasis on defence saw a dominating Györ powered to a 17-goal win, thanks to a 11:1 run at the end the game, as Krim scored just once from the 42nd minute as they suffered their fourth defeat in as many matches, but still lie fifth, one point behind CSM and a qualification place.
Statements after the match
Martin Ambrosio, Coach, Györi Audi ETO KC: “I think we played a really good and confident match. From the beginning to the end we did our best and the difference was good. They gave us a lot of chances for counter-attacks so we scored a lot quickly.”
Nora Mörk, player, Györi Audi ETO KC: “We are really happy about this win. We were speaking about our defence before and today we really did a good job. 17 goals is a very acceptable amount to concede and now we are ready for the Final 4 and it’s really great.”
Uroš Bregar, coach, RK Krim Mercator: “Our biggest problem was when we had some good play we weren’t able to hit the goal. We were trying, but it wasn’t enough to get close to Györ.”
Alja Koren, player, RK Krim Mercator: “We started really bad, they scored for the advantage and then we tried to reduce the gap. We had a lot of missed shots and their goalkeeper defended a lot of our shots. We will train harder for our last two matches and will do our best.”