Russian celebration ends women's CLArticle
«Go back

Russian winner in the CL for the first time: Zvezda Zvenigorod took the title after winning also the second leg in Austria.

Russian celebration ends women's CL

After beating Hypo Niederösterreich on home court a week ago by 25:24, the Russian champions were triumphant once again.

Oh showed wonderful tricks in the final / Photos by Leo HagenThe final score was 31:29 (15:15) after a very tough and close match. At the end of it the Russian girls received the trophy from the hands of EHF President Tor Lian.  

For Hypo it was a great disappointment as everything had been prepared for a great party in the Arena Nova of Wiener Neustadt. So the Austrian CL record holders have to try it again next season to fulfill their dream, which is “project nine” as Hypo won eight times since 1989.

The first halftime was totally equal. None of the teams was able to increase the gap in the first 30 minutes to more than two goals. Zvezda started better and they were leading 6:4. But then Hypo found the right pace in a real defensive battle.  

Thanks to three saves in a row from goalkeeper Sabine Englert, three goals of Timea Toth and the loud and strong support from more than 4,000 spectators, Hypo went ahead with 7:6, which was the first lead for the Austrian champion in this match.

The Russian success coach, Evgeni Trefilov / Photos by Leo HagenAnd as Englert – who clearly won the duel against the Russian goalkeepers – saved even more shots, Hypo seemed to go ahead, but Zvezda fought back.

Especially a change in the attack was important: as the three-time world champion Irina Poltoratskaya came on court, Zvezda were back.  

Within 12 minutes Poltoratskaya scored six times and the Russians took the lead again. After a totally close first half Hypo scored the equaliser right before the final whistle against the powerful team from Zvezda.

And theoutcome of the match was not clear in the second half either. Hypo scored twice in a row, but Zvezda always had an answer. As Hypo defence blocked Poltoratskaya, Ekaterina Andryushina stepped up. And as the “Russian wall” improved in defence, they again equalised and took the lead at 22:21 (in the 43th minute).

By this time it was obvious that Hypo had to win with a difference of two goals, if they wanted to reach the title.

The final was played in a splendid environmentAnd with the saves of Englert and the goals of the Brazil winger do Nascimento, Hypo gave all they had. As Zvezda received a lot of suspensions there would have been a chance for the Austrians, but even with one player less on court Zvezda scored.  

The Russian fans started to celebrate when Poltoratskaya hit the net for the 10th time just five minutes from time it was 28:27 for the Russians. Even as Hypo played a more attractive, spectacular and quicker handball, the powerful Russian players could not be stopped. And as the tall Elena Polenowa scored the decisive 30:28 in the 57th minute, the hall became quiet – except for the Russian supporters.

After 13 victories and only three defeats in the season, Hypo missed a great chance to win the CL again. As the final whistle was blown the Russian players celebrated and a great party started after the official ceremony.  

As it was the case in the men’s final, the guests were the winners. As Ciudad Real, Zvezda Zvenigorod can also celebrate a grate team.

TEXT: Björn Pazen