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All four home teams were victorious in Round 2 of the EHF Champions League.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Women's News

Home victories

Whilst all four home teams celebrated victories in their weekend matches, the situation in the two groups is totally different.

Group 1 includes four teams with equal two points, one victory and one loss for each team, meaning that everything remains tight and open between Budućnost, Krim, Itxako and Oltchim.

In Group 2, Larvik and Audi ETO are dominant, both teams having maximum points, whilst Dinamo and German champion Leipzig are without points.

Group 1

Itxako Reyno De Navarra (ESP) vs. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) 26:25 (10:14)

Anja Andersen’s revolution has been stopped by Spain’s Itxako, as the Spaniards beat Oltchim in a tense and thrilling match by just a one single goal.

The whole handball community was curious about Oltchim’s second Main Round match, as the Romanians impressed against Montenegrin Budućnost, who lost their first points last weekend.

Oltchim seemed confident before the match, boosted by last weekend’s victory, but several injuries hindered Andersen’s team from remaining unbeaten in the Main Round.

Despite this fact, Cristina Neagu and her team-mates led by six goals already, after which they collapsed as Itxako fought back and deservedly won.

Itxako looked fresher, more active and aggressive in attack, and their performance was crowned when Emilia Turey, coincidentally an ex Anja Andersen player, scored in the dying seconds of the match, giving her side a tight one goal victory.

"It was a triumph of confidence and faith," concluded Itxako coach Ambros Martín. The whole team and coaching staff were celebrating the success in the middle of the field for several minutes.

Coach Martín highlighted the mental strength of his team: "Before this match we were discussing the World Championship match between Spain and France, where at the end, Spain drew after being 7 goals behind the French. Today we have surely achieved something similar."

"Even though last weekend we looked tired after all the traveling, this week we could relax and prepare perfectly for the game. This was one of the reasons that we were able to celebrate a victory," analyzed the Itxako coach.

Budućnost Podgorica (MNE) vs. RK Krim Ljubljana (SLO) 32:29 (17:12)

Slovenian Krim were unable to surprise the Montenegrin champion, as Budućnost celebrated a well deserved victory. This makes the situation even in the group after two rounds, as all teams have two points in the bank.

Marta Bon’s team made a great start in the Main Round last weekend, when Andrea Lekić and her team-mates clearly defeated Spanish champion Itxako. On Sunday evening the local team of Podgorica hosted Krim, and Popović and Co. wanted to iron-out last weekend’s defeat against Oltchim, their first loss in the current EHF Champions League season.

Budućnost’s players acted more eagerly and burned for success in front of their loyal spectators. They dominated the whole match and had established a clear lead after 30 minutes.

The second half continued in the same fashion as the first, with Budućnost willing more success. Towards the end of the match, Krim pulled closer, but not enough time remained for them to turn the match.

With today’s home victory, there remains no undefeated club in Group 1, so everything is very open and the two semi-final participants will be decided in the next four rounds.

Group 2

Larvik HK (NOR) vs. Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) 41:20 (24:9)

Massive in defence, irresistible in attack, and with a very effective game plan, the Norwegian champion secured an easy home victory against Russian Dinamo Volgograd by a margin of 21 goals.

Larvik entered the field at full speed, both in attack and defence, whereas Victor Ryabykh’s team looked tired and weak at every position.

The Russian coach had to take his time out as early as the 6th minute. It didn’t help much, as Hammerseng and her team-mates led after 12 minutes by 13:4 and the teams entered the second half with Larvik leading by an incredible 15-goal difference.

"What shall I say? The girls went out on field with a never-seen-before intensity and enthusiasm which is absolutely fantastic! They crushed Dinamo and everyone did her job perfectly," commented a satisfied Tor Odvar Moen after the match.

The coach had been missing due to illness for several days, but his players helped him to recover and to feel fresher and fresher on the sideline as they followed his tactics and suggestions with great confidence.

"We’re happy that it went so well today," said Kari Mette Johansen. "Actually, it’s not common in the Main Round of the EHF Champions League that a team beats another by 21 goals," she continued.

Although the fight seemed to have been over after just 15 minutes, Larvik didn’t ease off, but continued playing at full speed with the backing of an enthusiastic audience - 4200 fans visited the match, a record in the Larvik Arena.

This clear victory must be a warning shot for Hungary’s number one Audi ETO, prior to the visit of Görbicz and Co. next weekend.

Nora Mørk was top scorer with 10 goals, followed by Heidi Løke who scored 8 times. Every Larvik player got her name on the score sheet, and even goalkeeper Cecilie Leganger tried to score a penalty, but missed!

The outstanding performance of the whole team bodes well before for next weekend’s 'Battle of the Titans'.

Audi ETO Győr (HUN) vs. HC Leipzig (GER) 25:20 (11:8)

Without fully testing each other in the first few minutes, both teams entered the court with full intensity and high tempo in attack, and some great defence from the very beginning.

HC Leipzig goalkeeper Katja Schülke maintained her marvelous form from last weekend, but despite her heroics between the sticks, the team of Csaba Konkoly made the better start.

Győr showed a well thought-out attacking game plan led by world-class playmaker Anita Görbicz and quickly established a 3-goal lead.

The first half was quite a low-scoring affair, as the magnificent assists of Karolina Kudlacz to her team-mates were saved by Audi ETO goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger, whilst the Hungarians hit the woodwork several times.

On the home side, the connection between the back line and pivot Simona Spiridon worked well, and her goals meant a stable 3-goal lead for Győr at half-time.

However, the Hungarians started the last 30 minutes with one player less, with Àgnes Hornyák being suspended for two minutes, and during those minutes Leipzig used every possibility to score. Within four minutes, Heine Jensen’s team had equalized and both teams had to start from scratch once more.

Polish international Karolina Kudlacz took over the playmaker position for HC Leipzig, but Audi ETO moved into top gear, and backed by the great saves of Katrine Lunde Haraldsen, the 3-goal advantage was re-established.

A tense and highly interesting game developed with some great excitement and fantastic moments on both sides. Both Leipzig and Audi ETO gave everything they had, and provided a marvelous handball spectacle in the Magvassy Mihály Arena. The home side managed to defend its advantage and celebrated a well-deserved 5-goal victory.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs