Scrappy win sees CSM take five-goal advantage
Reigning Women's EHF Champions League holders CSM Bucuresti will take a five-goal advantage into the second leg of their quarter-final, as they defeated FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria 30:25 at home in the first leg.
Isabelle Gullden and Carmen Martin top scored for CSM, with 10 goals and seven goals respectively
A packed 5,000-seater hall was CSM's biggest advantage, as FTC collapsed towards the end
Aniko Kovacsics was FTC's top scorer, with 11 goals
QUARTER-FINAL, FIRST LEG
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 30:25 (17:15)
There was no clear favourite for this duel, as both CSM and FTC had their ups and downs this season, but it was the home side who had the surprise factor as they hired coach Per Johansson just seven days before this game.
The surprises were mostly in defence, as Bella Gullden and Oana Manea swapped places, although the move did not initially pay dividends as FTC scored eight goals in the first 13 minutes.
The ups and downs of CSM
After that disappointing start the Romanian side began to improve, and they impressed in the final part of the first half.
More aggressive in defence and managing to stop the ever present Aniko Kovacsics, CSM openened a 16:11 lead thanks to the intelligence and nous of Isabelle Gullden, who scored six times in the first half.
However, CSM did not manage to hold a clear lead until the end of the first half, as the plucky Hungarians closed the gap to 17:15 and gave themselves a fighting chance.
Final minutes wrecked havoc for FTC
It was a nerve-racking second half for the 5000 fans in the 'Sala Polivalenta' in Bucharest, with both teams failing to open up a decisive gap.
CSM lacked clarity at the 9-metre line, as only Gullden was the go-to player. Therefore, it was no surprise that the Romanian side failed to increase the gap to more than four goals, with FTC resisting admirably in defence.
Only two goals separated the sides (23:21) with 15 minutes to go, as FTC's defence began to work better and CSM's attack, especially Gullden, tired.
However, in the end FTC could only limit the defecit to five-goals. It was a bitter end for the visitors, with a lot of costly mistakes that saw CSM take a 30:25 lead into the second leg, that will take place on Saturday in Budapest.