Women’s summary: Round 3Article
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Ikast-Brande and Hypo Niederösterreich remain the only teams in the women’s CL that collected all the points so far. Find all the information on the last women's round of the year.

Women’s summary: Round 3

Ikast-Brande and Hypo Niederösterreich remain the only teams in the women’s CL that collected all the points so far. Their record will remain spotless for this year as the teams will take a break now and focus on the EURO 2008 in FYR Macedonia.

Surprisingly Viborg lost in Krim. The Hungarian champion Győr have beaten the CL title holder Zvezda, and FCK made a draw against Buducnost. In the “horror Group C”, Valcea are the new number one after winning in Koprivnica and Larvik celebrated a clear victory against Lada.

Group A
Ikast-Brande – Kometal Skopje 32:26 (15:10)
Győr – Zvezda Zvenigorod 29:23 (17:10)

Three matches, three victories: Ikast-Brande has a brilliant balance at “half-time” of the women’s preliminary round. However, Ikast started badly against Kometal making too many mistakes in attack. After improving their performance within ten minutes, Ikast became dominant. Especially Isabel Blanco was outstanding. At half-time the distance was five goals and Ikast kept on playing at high speed. They were already leading by eight goals and the game was decided very early; Kometal couldn’t catch up with the Danes anymore.

“It was no easy work as Kometal has a strong team. But we’re very happy about our third victory. Now we have the best chances to reach the main round,” Ikast’s Norwegian international, Gro Hammerseng said.

After losing against Ikast, Győr are back on track with four points. With two defeats, the title holder Zvezda has to struggle at the last three matches to reach next stage. Even the eight goals of Poltoratskaya and Polenova were not enough for the Russians as Győr showed a strong performance in defence. The best scorer of the Hungarians was Mravikova with seven goals and Görbicz with six. Győr were in the lead all the time and made a great step towards the victory by half-time when the gap was already seven goals. Goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger was brilliant again.

Group B
Elda Prestigio – Hypo Niederösterreich 26:31 (12:17)
FCK Copenhagen – Buducnost 22:22 (11:8)

Even as Hypo didn’t play a fantastic match and didn’t play with a lot of glamour, their third victory was not in danger. The only time Elda could equalise was at 10:10, but with a series of 7:2 Hypo took a comfortable lead by the half-time whistle. The Spanish team was one class weaker than the Austrians who didn’t need to give all to win. The top scorers for last season’s finalist were Nascimento and Kirsner with eight goals each.

As the Buducnost players were dancing on court, FCK left the hall with their heads down. The draw may be much more valuable for the Montenegrins. Due to an aggressive defence and a strong goalkeeper Cecile Leganger – she made some great saves –, Copenhagen were leading by three goals at half-time. It didn’t take long for the team from Podgorica to equalise. Afterwards both teams made a lot of mistakes. As FCK seemed to win way at the score of 21:17, Buducnost coach Gyula Zsiga took his green time out card. The coach was very effective. With four goals in a row, his team equalised again in the tense last minute.

FCK’s top scorer, Maren Baumbach (7 goals), hit the net to make it 22:21, but Buducnost could equalise again with the last attack.

“The return game in Podgorica will decide on which team will go on in the Champions League. We have to give all we can,” FCK coach Anja Andersen said.

Group C
Podravka Koprivnica – Oltchim Valcea 20:30 (14:13)
Larvik HK – Lada Togliatti 35:24 (15:13)

Goalkeeper Luminita Dinu was the match winner of Valcea in Koprivnica with 19 saves. The first half was mostly equal, but the Romanian defence improved. Podravka couldn’t catch up anymore. With a series of four goals in a row after 16:16, Valcea showed their eagerness. With three minutes to go the difference was already ten goals (29:19) as Podravka hit the net only three times in 25 minutes.

“We were surprised by the strength of Valcea in the second half-time. It was a well-deserved victory for them,” Koprivnica coach Zdravko Zvonko said. Valcea now lead the table of Group C with four points. The best scorers were Todorovska and Tatari (6 goals) for Podravka and Maier (7) for Valcea.

“We can take a long Christmas vacation,” Larvik player Tonje Larsen said after the clear victory against Lada. “We showed that we are better than them.” And coach Tor Odvar Moen added: “It was really important to win the match with as many goals as possible, because the group is so close. The second half was great.”

The best players of the Norwegian champions were goalkeeper Lene Rantala and the top scorer Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth. She added another 13 goals to her record. The best Lada scorer was Irina Bliznova with eight goals. After Gruzdeva received a red card, Lada didn’t have the alternatives to against a quick Larvik handball after the break. With a series of 7:1 goals right after halftime Larvik decided the match. At 29:19 the distance was ten goals for the first time.

Group D
Metz Handball – 1. FC Nürnberg 32:24 (16:14)
Krim Ljubljana – Viborg HK 38:34 (20:22)

Similarly to Group C, the table of Group D is very balanced after Viborg surprisingly lost. The Danes, Krim and Metz have four points on their account, while Nürnberg don’t seem to have a chance to reach the main round anymore.

Even the 10 goals of Bojana Popovic weren’t enough for Viborg to win in Ljubljana. “It was chaotic,” Jakob Vestergaard, coach of Viborg, said after the match. His team played well in the first half and were leading 22:20. Viborg, however, showed some weaknesses in the defence very early.

“In the end we missed too many chances, we could have scored 44 goals, but then we couldn’t score,” Vestergaard said. As the spectators gave Krim a hug boost, the Slovenians turned the match. Golubic, Lekic (each 8 goals) and Mörtel (6) scored 22 out of the 38 goals for Krim. The Slovenians have come back to the race for the main round.

Nürnberg started with a 6:2 lead in Metz and resisted well for 30 minutes. In the end, the French team gained their second victory very clearly. Nürnberg had no power in the second half that Metz won clearly. As the distance was five goals, Metz became dominant. Nürnberg failed too often. The best German scorer was Engel with seven goals, Piejos scored eight times for Metz.

TEXT: Björn Pazen