Reigning champion without problemsArticle
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Györ lose in Zvezda, Krim win neighbour duel and Larvik start their „mission CL title“ successfully – read the summary of the Sunday’s matches of Women’s CL start.

Reigning champion without problems

After Valcea had lost their opener in Randers on Saturday another favoured team started with a defeat in the Women’s EHF Champions League: Györ lost in Zvezda. In contrast, Larvik and Viborg didn’t have problems in their openers – and Krim ended the “Podravka curse” by winning in Koprivnica for the first time since three years.

Group A:

IK Sävehof – Viborg HK 24:37 (13:19)

Successful ferry trip for the reigning champion: Viborg took the points very easily from Gothenburg, where IK Sävehof played their double CL feature with women’s and men’s CL matches. Despite the great saves of goalkeeper Cecilia Grubbström the Swedish champion didn’t have a chance against the Danes. Specially the back court players Chebbah, Jurack and Skov put a lot of pressure on the Sävehof defense – and pre-decided the game right at the break. Even as she suffered from a flu and couldn’t travel with the rest of the team on the ferry to Sweden, pivot Anja Althaus scored four times. By leading very clearly Viborg lacked some concentration in the second half, but was never endangered to lose the match. In the end Varzaru was the key player for the 13 goals difference at the end. Now Viborg’s really looking forward to see Bojana Popovic again – with her new club from Podgorica. Top scorers of this opening match were Varzaru and Gullden (Sävehof) with each seven goals.

Group C:

Toulon Sant Cyr Var – Larvik HK 28:31 (12:16)

CL debutant Toulon stood strong, but the hurdle Larvik was too high for the french Champion despite a great fight. Five goals of youngster Nora Mörk imprinted the first half in which Larvik took the control after an equal start with five goals, in the end Mörk was the top scorer of her team with seven hits. Toulon took the initiative right from the start and put Larvik under pressure. But the Norwegians improved after the 11:11 and took the lead from then on thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Cecilie Leganger. After the break Larvik had a comfortable six goal distance most of the time, before Toulon reduced the gap in the last minutes thanks to the goals of Touwene (8) and Dembele (5).

Group D:

Podravka Vegeta Koprivnica – HK Krim Ljubljana 30:35 (16:19)

The match was equal until the score of 10:10, before the strong 5:1 defense of Krim could intercept and brought the 14:11 lead for the Slovenians. On both sides the goalkeepers - Jelcic and Grubisic – played outstanding, but in the end Krim took the two points well-deserved, even as the match was close until the score of 24:27. But by five consecutive goals Krim decided the game against their old enemy, attended by more than 2000 spectators. Top scorers were Lekic (7 goals for Krim) and Zebic and Pusic (each six goals for Podravka). Andrea Penezic who transferred from Koprivnica to Ljubljana before this season, scored six times.

Statements after the match:

Marta Bon, coach Krim: “We are very pleased with the victory. We knew it would be a tough match, but we played quite well. I think we all agree on a good match, so congratulations to Podravka for the great match.”

Ljudmila Bodnieva, Krim player: “We are very happy with the result, as we finally won against Podravka, where we lost the last three years. This victory was important because it brings us a good base for the future.”

Neven Hrupec, coach of Podravka Vegeta: “Krim deserved to win. Realistically, at this moment Krim is stronger than Podravka. I think that our girls fought at maximum level, but we played a little weak in defense. Krim goalkeeper Jelena Grubisic played brilliant.”

Niki Pušić, Podravka Vegeta player: “We are sad because of the defeat, but I have to congratulate Krim, as they were the better team. We did not have the right solutions in defense.”

Zvezda Zvenigorod – Györi Audi ETO 31:28 (17:14)

2008 CL winner Zvezda starts with a victory against 2009 finalist Györ: The Russians which had to march through the qualification tournament specially surprised by their young players like top scorer Kuznetsova (8 goals) and Anna Sen (6 goals). Zvezda was in lead throughout the whole game, even as Anita Görbicz scored nine times for Györ. The Russians mostly had a two or three goal distance until the break, before they accelerated and pre-decided the game at the score of 25:20 and 27:22 in minute 52. Even as the Hungarians could reduce the gap to 28:25 the victory of Zvezda wasn’t endangered. In the end the victory for Zvezda was well-deserved, as the Györ world class goalkeeper duo Palinger/Lunde didn’t have their best day.

TEXT: Björn Pazen