Györi Audi ETO advance into Main Round as Larvik and Hypo close inArticle
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Hungarian champions beat Krim Mercator on their way to the next stage

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Györi Audi ETO advance into Main Round as Larvik and Hypo close in

Hungarian champions Györi Audi ETO became the first team to secure a spot in the EHF Champions League last eight this season, after an emphatic home win over Slovenian rivals Krim Mercator guaranteed their progress from the Group Matches.  

Larvik, the 2011 champions, and Hypo edged closer to Main Round berths with equally important wins in front of their own fans, rekindling hopes that they can revive their glory days and capture the elusive trophy.

Their accomplishments were achieved in contrasting fashion though, as Larvik overran Dinamo Volgograd while Hypo were made to work hard by Buxtehuder SV.

Sunday’s matches bring a classic between holders Budućnost Podgorica and Germany champions Thüringer HC, Croatian title holders Podravka Vegeta are at home to EHF Champions League newcomers U Jolidon Cluj and favourites Oltchim Vâlcea entertain Randers HK.

Group A:
Hypo NÖ (AUT) vs Buxtehuder SV (GER) 27:24 (14:11)

Following their easy win over Buxtehude in Germany last weekend, the winners of a record eight EHF Champions League titles must have expected an easier task on home court in Maria Enzersdorf.

It was plain sailing for Hypo at the start as they took a 5:2 lead early on and maintained their three-goal advantage until midway through the second half, when it appeared they would shoot themselves in the foot as they let the visitors back into the match.

Buxtehude, who are yet to win a single point in Europe’s elite club competition this season, took a 24:23 lead with six minutes left but then Hypo then closed ranks in defence, while their prolific Brazilian right wing Alexandra Do Nascimento took control in attack.

The German side were unable to score another goal as they seemed to run out of steam, much to the relief of the home players and fans who treated their team to a standing ovation after the final whistle.

With Randers facing a mammoth task at EHF Champions League favourites Oltchim Vâlcea on Sunday, Hypo have one foot in the last eight with three wins from four games.

Group B
Györi Audi ETO (HUN) vs Krim Mercaror (SLO) 29:22 (16:9)

Györi Audi ETO booked their spot in the Main Round with a convincing home win over Krim Mercator, in a match which was almost a carbon copy of last weekend’s encounter in Slovenia.

The Hungarian champions, looking for their maiden European trophy after losing two EHF Champions League finals, dictated proceedings from start to finish and never gave their rivals a chance of coming away with something from this one-sided contest.

Montenegrin right wing Jovanka Radičević led the scoring with seven goals for the home side, followed by versatile Serbian back Andrea Lekić who added five.

Brazilian Eduarda Amorim and Hungarian prodigy Anita Görbicz added four each for rampant Györ, who will head into the last eight confident of at least emulating last year’s success, when they reached the final and finished as runners-up.

Tamara Mavsar scored six goals for Krim and Swedish left back Linnea Torstensson added five, but the Slovenian champions will take scant consolation from their fine individual performances.

Krim, winners in 2001 and 2003 as well as runners up on three occasions, now have only a slim chance of reaching the second group stage of the competition.

Group C
Larvik (NOR) vs Dinamo Volgorgrad (RUS) 40:25 (20:11)

There was never a shadow of a doubt that 2011 Champions League winners Larvik would emulate last weekend’s performance in Russia, when they picked apart Dinamo to prove their title-winning credentials.

The Norwegian giants built their advantage with masterful skill and patience, using their home court advantage to great effect against the helpless visitors.
Like in last weekend’s game in Volgograd, the Russian side had no reply for Larvik’s fast breaks and incisive passing, as good ball movement in attack resulted in a barrage of open shots and easy goals either side of halftime.

Although the outcome of the game was never in doubt, Larvik kept their foot on the gas pedal throughout the match and pounded Dinamo’s goal from all angles, with mercurial middle back Anja Edin leading the charge with nine goals to take her season’s tally to 29.

Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren added eight and Gro Hammerseng netted five for Larvik, while pivot Pernille Wibe chipped in with four. Kseniya Makeeva was the only noteworthy performer for Dinamo with five goals. Larvik, who lost to holders Budućnost Podgorica in last season’semis, are likely to battle it out with Hungary’s FTC for top spot in the group, while they will progress on Sunday if Savehof fail to win against Ferencváros.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br