Jovanović: "Minor details can decide"Article
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Budućnost’s left back Marija Jovanović is confident of a victory in Spain against Itxako.

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Jovanović: "Minor details can decide"

In front of 4,500 home fans in the “Morača” hall, Budućnost gained their first Main Round victory against Krim Mercator. Despite missing four players – Gabriella Kindl, Sanela Knezović, Ana Radović, Suzana Lazović – due to injuries or illness, Budućnost celebrated a well-deserved victory, being in lead from start to end.

Marija Jovanović, left back of the Montenegrin champions scored five times against the Slovenians. In an interview with she talked about the club’s performance in the Main Round of the EHF Champions League. Against Krim you gave away a seven-goal lead and had to fight hard at the end of the match to secure the first two points. What happened in the final ten minutes?

Marija Jovanović: Although we had the advantage of a comfortable lead, the outcome of the match was uncertain until the very end. In the final period of the match we didn’t fully concentrated, and Krim took advantage of that to reduce. Still we should be satisfied, because we got our first two points and fulfilled our objective.

Before the match, nobody from our team gave a thought about the goal difference, only about winning. So we are happy with the victory. But we are also aware of the shortcomings that we had during the match and of things that must not be repeated in the future. How has your form you improved since the first match against Oltchim?

Marija Jovanović: It is impossible to simply forget how to play handball within one week. Our opener against Oltchim we played below our normal standard, as it was obvious that we had lost our sense of play a little after more than two months of break. I think it is better now, as last week’s game against Krim proved. Were you surprised to hear that you upcoming opponents, Itxako, defeated Oltchim?

Marija Jovanović: Yes, to be honest I was very surprised when I heard the result. But we know that Itxako have a high quality team. I believe that they took advantage of Oltchim’s slow returns to defence. Although I expected an Oltchim victory, in this stage of the EHF Champions League there are only good teams left, and no victory or defeat can come as a surprise. After Itxako’s victory, all four Group 1 teams have two points. This complicates the situation in the group, as every team could go to the semi-finals…

Marija Jovanović: It just proves the quality of the group and of its teams. Every match could be decided by minor details, so it is important to play the next matches with a minimum of mistakes and to get the correct rhythm to be able to play our game. Budućnost now is facing two consecutive away games, first in Spain against Itxako and in Slovenia against Krim. How do you see the first one against Itxako?

Marija Jovanović: I believe that we have enough quality to be able to win in Spain. However, we will have to confirm our quality on the court, it’s not enough to speak about it. I expect that we can play the game at our level. If that is the case, I have no doubt that we will achieve our second victory. And after the next two rounds, the situation in the group will me much clearer.

EHF Women’s Champions League, Main Round, Round 3
Sunday 20 February 2011, 19:00 hrs (local time)
Itxako Reyno De Navarra (ESP) vs. Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)

TEXT: Saša Jončić