Women's summary: Main RoundArticle
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The Main Round has thrown off in the Women's Champions League. Read about the matches of the weekend.

Women's summary: Main Round 

The favourites begin well: Hypo, Viborg and Győr start the main round with expected and more or less clear victories. Podgorica showed their strength by beating Valcea.

Group I

Podravka Koprivnica – Hypo Niederösterreich 30:31 (14:17)
Ikast Brande – Viborg HK 24:38 (14:19)

Viborg celebrate an important and impressive victoryHypo started with a deserved, but lucky victory in Croatia. Even as 2,000 spectators stood united behind the local team, the Austrians kept cool. Hypo were in the lead most of the time and increased the gap to six goals in second half as they were 17:14 in front at the break.

As everybody expected a clear victory from the eight times CL winners, Podravka fought back and tried everything to keep the points in Croatia. Five minutes before the end Koprivnica equalised at 28:28 – and the tension rose as they had chances to turn the match around.

Hypo, with greater experience, took the two points in the very last minute. The best scorer of Hypo was Nascimento with eight goals and Penezic also scored eight times for Podravka.

“I’m totally satisfied that we won in this atmosphere as I know that Podravka has a very strong team,” Hypo coach András Németh said. His counterpart, Podravka coach Zdravko Zovko, added:

“I have to congratulate Hypo for this performance, but also my team as they played well against one of the best teams in the world. We can play on a higher quality and I hope we will show it next match.”

Viborg showed once again what role they play in the Champions League and in Denmark. In the clash of the Danish top teams, Ikast didn’t have a chance on home court against the high speed and fighting spirit of the current number one in the Danish league.

The match was equal until 9:9 when Viborg increased the speed and the quality of their defence. With a series of 9:3 goals Bojana Popovic & Co. paved the way to the victory. Though both goalkeepers showed great saves, Katrine Lunde (Viborg) was always better at the decisive part than Ödegaard on the Ikast side.

Even as Isabel Blanco played a good match in the home team, Ikast had no chance to come closer to Viborg. The Danish champions increased the lead to 15 goals - in the end it was 14 goals. Mette Sjöberg scored six for Ikast, Popovic (9 goals) and Grit Jurack (5) were also outstanding.

“It’s not a problem to lose against Viborg,” Ikast coach Kenneth Jensen said. “But it’s a pity to lose by 14 goals. Viborg played world class handball and they will be number one of this group at the end.”

Group II

Krim Mercator – Győri ETO 31:35 (15:15)
Buducnost Podgorica – Oltchim Valcea 23:22 (12:13)

Győr took two points from LjubljanaGyőr hoped for a point or two, but the Hungarians never expected to win in Ljubljana so easily. As they were leading by nine goals difference just seven minutes from the end, Anita Görbicz & Co. decided the match surprisingly early.

The first halftime was mostly equal, even as Győr started better. But when an outstanding Lekic (all together ten goals) gave them rhythm, she brought Krim back to the match. But after the break Győr showed real strength when goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger played brilliantly and Görbicz led her team to many counter attacks. Krim couldn’t balance it out anymore.

“It was a great start in the main round, I never thought we could win so easily. I expected a very close end with high tension, but it’s better this way,” Győr coach Csaba Konkoly said. The best scorers were Görbicz (9), Tomori and Mravikova (7-7).

The second match of Group II was - in contrast to the one played in Ljubljana - full of tension until the very last second.

Buducnost clinched just another victory against a top team. Katarina Bulatovic, who scored ten times, and goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarović were the match winners for the Montenegrins, who took their fourth victory of the CL season.

Oltchim was a high class opponent with a great goalkeeper: Luminita Dinu saved 14 shots – even if she’s pregnant in the third month.

Due to five Bulatovic goals in the first 13 minutes, Buducnost were in the lead at 8:5 and the 5,000 spectators were completely satisfied. But Valcea came closer, equalised and were leading 13:12 at halftime.

After 16:18 for the guests Buducnost controlled the match. Bulatovic scored to make it 23:21 in the last minute of the game.

“After 20:20 we had some great chances, but we missed them,” Valcea coach Ivica Rimanic said after the match. “I hope we can fight until the end of this stage to qualify for the semi-final. Today Buducnost were better.”

Bulatovic was impressed by the crowd:

“The spectators supported us from the first to the last minute. It was great. Even as we missed some players, we showed great performance.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen