Turn up the heat in PamplonaArticle
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Itxako’s back player Nerea Pena is on fire before the second leg final against Larvik in Pamplona.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Women's News

Turn up the heat in Pamplona

Despite not being in the starting line-up of her team for the first leg of the EHF Champions League Final, Itxako’s left back Nerea Pena used her time on court very effectively, scoring several important goals and making some nice assists for her team mates.

With her great contribution, her side only lost by the slim margin of two goals. This puts the Spaniards in a position to win the EHF CL trophy in front of their own fans. Nerea is very excited about the second leg and she awaits a real handball spectacle and a Spanish Fiesta after the return match.

ehfCL.com: How do you feel after the first leg match of the Final, did you expect a game like this against Larvik?

Nerea Pena: I am glad because the score gives us a good chance to win the EHF CL title for the first time in our history. We enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere of a sold out hall in Norway. We expected a very close and tough game and so it was.

ehfCL.com: You were very energetic and on fire in the training period prior to the match and contributed important goals to the game, especially the last one which could be very decisive. Are you pleased with your own performance?

Nerea Pena: Yes, you can say that I am really on fire as these Final games are very important for the players and the club. I feel very well and I hope to score the last goal of also the upcoming match, which will hopefully be the goal that gives the trophy to Itxako.

ehfCL.com: How do you feel about the two-goal margin, are you and your team-mates confident before the return match?

Nerea Pena: It is a very close score. We will start this game without thinking of the first game. Instead we should focus on victory as two goals are nothing in handball. So we will only think about winning at home backed by our loudly cheering and supportive fans.

ehfCL.com: How tough is it to play against such a strong and hard-running Larvik team? 

Nerea Pena: Larvik’s handball is very different because it is very fast, something we have not really been used to previously. They are able to open a big gap in the score within just a few minutes.

They have a lot of experienced players from their National Team, and as we know Norway is one the best national teams in the world. We must try to avoid mistakes in order to gain the victory. The Norwegians will punish every error and convert our mistakes to goals by their counter attacks.

ehfCL.com: How big is the excitement among the fans, players and staff before the decisive final game in Pamplona? What will await Larvik in the arena?

Nerea Pena: These days everybody in Estella and in Pamplona is on fire. We will have a beautiful atmosphere in Pabellón Anaitasuna de Pamplona, and it will help us a lot, I am sure of it.

I suppose Larvik expect a much hotter and louder atmosphere compared to their Arena Larvik in Norway. The show there was very nice and we will try to improve on it to motivate us a lot. We hope to experience a real handball party and spectacle at home.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs, Fernando Urra Goñi