Valcea start with great victoryArticle
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The match of Round 1 brought a close game that Valcea won by three goals against one of their greatest rivals, Viborg.

Valcea start with great victory

When a club is seeded in pot 4 and plays qualification matches, it does not necessarily mean that they have no chance to win the Champions League. C. S. Oltchim Valcea proved it on Sunday afternoon when they started their CL journey with a 33-30 home win over Viborg HK. The Danes are also considered to be among the top favourites to win this season.

Valcea celebrate another great successOltchim Valcea – with many Romanian internationals in their squad – did not seem to be impressed by their prominent opponents. Both teams were missing some of their key players, but the home team seemed to be able to replace them better. At least, Valcea started well and thrilled the 1,900 spectators by getting a 5-1 and 10-4 lead quickly.

The veteran goalkeeper, Luminita Dinu, played an important part in this early success with a number of magnificent saves.

However, Viborg slowly managed to get back into the game thanks to the Norwegian keeper, Katrine Lunde Haraldsen, who replaced Louise Bager Due early in the match. Lunde made several great saves. In addition to this goalkeeping, Viborg’s backcourt line with Gritt Jurack, Bojana Popovic and Rikke Skov also improved and the gap was only three in halftime, 18-15 for Valcea.

Close second half

In the second half Viborg managed to come even closer and after 43 minutes and 44 seconds the score was equal for the first time since 0-0. A 16-year old left winger, Maria Fisker, equalised for Viborg from a fast break and made it 24-24.

Almost for the rest of the match the score was either even or with a one goal lead for Valcea. Just five minutes before the end, the hosts took a two-goal lead at 30-28. With three minutes left, however, German international Gritt Jurack equalised once again at 30-30.

That was the Danes´ last goal of that match. Valcea scored three more and secured a deserved 33-30 win. This was Viborg’s first defeat this season. Fantastic goalkeeping of the Romanian champions was decisive. Talida Tolnai replaced Dinu for the second half and she did just as well as her famous team mate.

“Poor start against a great team”

“We have to admit that we started badly in the Champions League, but we played against a great team. It is no excuse that we have injuries because Valcea also have some. They were missing their playmakers and their fantastic left winger, Valentina Ardean,” Viborg’s coach, Tomas Ryde told after the defeat.

“We started the match terribly, but I think we managed to fight our way back into the came. We missed too many opportunities towards the end, however,” Ryde added.

Viborg’s next game will be at home against Budocnost T Mobile who opened the group phase with a 22-19 home win over FTC Budapest. Oltchim Valcea will travel to Hungary to meet FTC Budapest on Saturday.

TEXT: Peter Bruun