Valcea and Larvik in the main roundArticle
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Györ win top match against Zvezda and still can hope to go on.

Valcea and Larvik in the main round

Like Krim and Viborg the teams from Larvik in group D and Valcea in group C have qualified for the main round. As the Norwegians didn’t have problems to beat Buducnost, Valcea had to shiver and shake, before they had won against Itxako. Györ won the top match against Zvezda and can hope for the next stage.

Group C:

Audi ETO Györ – Zvezda Zvenigorod 27:25 (14:10)

Thanks to the world class comeback of Anita Görbicz, Györ took their last chance to reach the main round. The playmaker, who was injured since last season’s final with a rupture of the crucial ligament, scored eleven goals against Zvezda – and paved the way to a real group final against Valcea next weekend. But the Russians (five points) still have chances to overtake Györ (6) by beating Itxako on Saturday. In case Zvezda win, Györ need a victory against Valcea on home soil to go on to the next stage – as the Russians won the direct encounter against Györ despite the defeat- after the 34:29 in the first match. Led by Görbicz, Györ was in lead all of the time. Both teams started nervous, but the Hungarians found their rhythm first, as Zvezda caused too many unforced errors during the whole 60 minutes. After the 9:8, Györ extended the lead to 14:10 at the break – and even missed the chance to extend to five goals right before the halftime whistle. Zvezda, based on a again strong defence, nearly caught up at the score of 22:21 – but then lacked concentration in the attack, as Györ returned on the winner’s way. The match was decided at the score of 27:24 80 seconds before the end. Three Zvezda players scored each four goals – but after the final whistle all 2800 spectators knew, whom to thank: Anita Görbicz.

Oltchim Valcea – SD Itxako 27:26 (15:14)

After a “match close to a heart attack” (as said on the Valce website) the Romanian champion qualified as the first team in the “group of death” for the main round with now eight points. In case Valcea don’t lose the last match in Györ with less than four goals, they finish as group winner. But it was hardest work to take two points against Itxako, which is still waiting for their first victory in this CL season. Valcea player Steluta Luca was highly satisfied after the match: "It was a very difficult game, we gave all we could for the victory. Itxako proved that they are a very difficult opponent, and we knew that today’s game will be very hard. I hope after the game in Györ we will finish on first position in the group.” Match winner for the Romanians was Vizitiu, who scored most of her six goals in the second half. Valcea coach Radu Voina said: "Today’s result is very important for us, because we played against a team that showed strong performance in away games. I congratulate my girls, because they proved they really want the victory.” On the other hand Itxako coach Martin Ambros was pleased with the result: “My team made a good game, but we don’t have enough Champions League experience. I think our future in the Champions League looks better because our team improves the game play every game." For his team Alberto and Pinedo each scored six goals in fully packed arena. Itxako still can be a part of the decision inthe group in their last home match against Zvezda.

Group D:

Larvik HK – Buducnost T-Mobile 29:22 (15:8)

Larvik is the fourth team to qualify for the main round after Krim, Viborg and Valcea – and for LHK it’s the first time ever to be among the eight best teams of the CL. After beating Buducnost clearly, the Norwegians will finish the group on first position with now eight points. The team from Podgorica (still 3 points) missed their last chance to go on to the main round before the last match against FCK (4). The second team to follow Larvik will be decided between Dinamo (5) and FCK. If Wolgograd reach one point (or more) against Larvik, they’re through. FCK need a victory against Buducnost and have to hope that Dinamo lose on home soil. Against the team from Montenegro pivot Heidi Löke was the outstanding player with ten goals in a very one sided match. Aside Nora Mörk scored seven times and showed some brilliant interactions with Löke. “It was hard for me, but in the end it’s great to qualify. So the last match is without meaning for us”, Löke said. Her coach Karl Erik Böhn praised his team: “After the score of 8:3 we controlled the match completely. It was highly important to take the qualification today, as it’ll be very tough to take the points from Wolgograd.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen