Slagelse One Step Closer to the TrophyArticle
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The first leg of the Women's CL Final ended in a 29-29 draw. It was a very close game where both teams had their chances to win and get advantage for the second leg. Everything still to be decided in Brøndby Hallen.

Slagelse One Step Closer to the Trophy

Popovic was in top form again: 13 goalsAfter a 29-29 draw in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League finals against Lada Togliatti, Slagelse have a good chance to win the trophy for the third time in the last four years. It would also be the fourth year in a row that a Danish club wins the CL (Viborg HK won last year). The result gives some advantage for the Danes before the return leg in Copenhagen next Sunday.

2500 spectators witnessed the draw in Togliatti. The supporters saw an intense and well played final where both teams had the victory within reach in the dying minutes. The draw seemed to be a fair result at the end.

Lungu missing, Popovic and Turey in good form

The Romanian backcourt player, Carmen Lungu, could not enter the country due to entry formalities. It was obvious that Slagelse missed Lungu in attack, although the visitors had others who caused problems for Lada, especially the Serbian backcourt player Bojana Popovic and the elegant Russian winger Emiliya Turey.

Cautious start from both teams

The teams started the match cautiously, and it took four minutes and twenty seconds, before Lada’s right back Irina Bliznova scored the first goal of the game from a penalty.

Postnova was the leader of Lada: 8 goalsThe following minutes were dominated by Slagelse as their goalkeeper Cecilie Leganger was already in great form. She saved three penalties during the match and she made a lot of other fine saves. Slagelse got ahead 4-1 before Lada were able to score their second goal, and the Danes also went up 5-2, 9-5 and 12-8. Lada got themselves together after this and their quick 3-2-1 defence and their brilliant keeper Maria Sidorova brought them back into the match. The two excellent backs Liudmilla Postnova, Irina Bliznova and the left winger Ekatarina Marennikova performed very well in attack.

Lada managed to equalise at 13-13 and the rest of the first half was equal with Slagelse one goal up at half time – 16-15.

Lada dominance after the break

Slagelse began the second half with a goal again – 17-15 – but this was followed by a period of Lada dominance. The Russians scored four goals in succession and they took a two-goal lead for the first time at 19-17.

Slagelse did not give up. Though the visitors lost their Montenegrin left wing, Maja Savic for an injury at the middle of the second half, the following phase was equal.

In the next period, the hosts seemed to decide the game as they went from 25-25 to 28-25 – the only three-goal lead of Lada in the match – with less than three minutes left.

Leganger has done her bestHowever, a fantastic Slagelse finish – again with the help of a fantastic Cecilie Leganger in the goal – meant that the Danes took the lead at 29-28 with less than a minute to go. Nevertheless, Lada managed to equalise in the dying seconds.

Many obstacles

“Right now we are left with mixed feelings, as we might have won or even lost the match at the end. Usually, we go for victory, but as there were many obstacles today I think we can be satisfied after all,” Slagelse’s assistant coach Peter Bruun Jørgensen told

“Lada were extremely good in counter attack, but they did not really surprise us. However, it was obvious, of course, that we missed Carmen Lungu who has been playing in an improving form recently. Now we will have to analyse the match thoroughly in order to decide whether there is anything we have to change for the second leg,” added Peter Bruun Jørgensen.

Slagelse´s Serbian star – and the top scorer of the Women’s Champions League – Bojana Popovic scored more than anyone else with 13 goals, while Emiliya Turey scored 7. Liudmilla Postnova scored 8 for Lada, she was followed by Irina Bliznova and Ekatarina Marennikova with 6 goals each.

The second leg will take place in Brøndby Hallen near Copenhagen next Sunday at 19.15.

TEXT: Peter Bruun