GROUP 2 REVIEW: Larvik secure at least second place in the group with an impressive 28:24 win away in FC Midtjylland’s fortress.
Decisive win seals second place for Larvik
It was a battle for second place between two Scandinavian powerhouses, as an FC Midtjylland win would have propelled the Danish side to level with Larvik on the Women’s EHF Champions League Group 2 table.
But the hosts never recovered from a dip in the first half and lost their first home game this season, leaving them little chance to leapfrog CSM in the last round.
Larvik are now firmly in second with 12 points, but will have to beat Györ in the last round and hope the Hungarian side do not win against Esbjerg on Sunday to claim the top spot.
• FCM record their second consecutive defeat after the 21:22 loss against Esbjerg last week
• FCM previously won home games against CSM Bucuresti, Györ, Rostov or Krim, but fail to protect their home court against Larvik
• Larvik are ending the main round on a high, after winning against CSM last week and drawing against Györ in their previous encounter
FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs Larvik HK (NOR) 24:28 (11:18)
Focusing on maintaining their five-game unbeaten streak on their home court, FCM enjoyed a bright start with fluid attack thanks to their back court, who scored goal after goal.
But the Norwegian side soon managed to get into the game and impose their will, levelling the score at 4:4.
A 6:0 partial between the 10th and 18th minute was the key point of the game, with Larvik’s Tine Stange continuing her amazing form shown in the domestic game against Glassverket on Wednesday, putting five goals past Sabine Englert in the first half.
No chance for FCM in the second half
It was a completely different game than usual for FCM, who struggled to find their rhythm in attack and had nothing in defence, as Larvik scored an astonishing 18 goals in the first half.
The 18:11 lead at half time was as good as it could get for a win, with Larvik only having to protect their advantage for the second 30 minutes to secure second place in the group.
A 5:2 start of the second half for FCM was a good indicator that the Danish side would not go down easily, which would keep them in fourth place after CSM jumped past the Danish team with a victory on Friday.
Kurtovic proves lethal again
Though Stine Jörgensen tried to take control of the game in the second half, Larvik managed to stay clear of FCM's attempted comeback thanks to their flawless defence.
It was Amanda Kurtovic who picked up where Stange left off in the first half, scoring five times in the second period and never allowing FCM to reduce the gap to less than four goals.
While Larvik enjoyed the 28:24 win, FCM's season has been left in serious turmoil. The Danish side are now fourth in the group and need all the help they can get from their domestic rivals, Esbjerg. Hosting CSM in the last round, Esbjerg must win against the title holders, while FCM need to beat Krim to take third place.
On the other hand, Larvik are already assured of second place, but cannot rely only on themselves to win the group. The Norwegian team must beat Györ in the last round, and also rely on Esbjerg to win against the Hungarian side on Sunday.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg