Krim and FTC celebrate shock winsArticle
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Underdogs shine on the road in their opening games of the Women´s EHF Champions League Main Round

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Krim and FTC celebrate shock wins

Anyone who might have thought that the EHF Champions League Main Round would be plain sailing for the favourites was emphatically denied on the opening round, as Krim Mercator and Ferencvaros sprung upsets against much more heralded rivals.

Especially the Hungarian contenders, who stunned one of the competition’s favourites Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea and showed that they are capable of reaching the semi-finals from a very tough group. Krim, for their part, enjoyed a five-goal win at Russia´s Zvezda Zvenigorod after scraping through to the second group stage of Europe’s premier club competition.

Group 2
Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea (ROU) vs FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria 22:23 (9:10)

A season-ending injury to left back Cristina Neagu proved to be more than Oltchim could handle in time for their opening EHF Champions League Main Round clash against a fired-up Ferencváros team, who sprung the first major surprise of the competition’s last eight.

Having won two successive EHF Cup Winners´ Cup trophies in the last two seasons, FTC showed in no uncertain terms that they are capable of lifting the continent’s most coveted trophy which eluded them in two previous finals they took part in – 1971 and 2002.

In a battle of Spanish sharpshooters, FTC left back back Nerea Pena Abaurrea crowned a breathtaking individual performance with a game-high 10 goals to overshadow Oltchim’s Portuguese-born Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa, who netted seven times for the Romanian title holders.

Zsuzsanna Tomori provided valuable support for FTC with six goals to her name, one more than Montenegro’s EHF EURO 2012 winner Katarina Bulatović scored for Oltchim.

Especially encouraging for FTC will be the fact that they won the match away from home, on one of the most difficult courts to visit.

Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS) vs RK Krim Mercator (SLO) 24:29 (14:15)

Zvezda’s hopes of delighting the club’s fans on their European debut in a  newly-built home venue vanished in thin air as Krim produced a superb performance suggesting they have the capacity to rekindle past glory dating back to not so distant history.

The Slovenian outfit, who won the Women’s EHF Champions League in 2001 and 2003 and also finished runners-up three times, turned a slender one-goal halftime lead into a convincing five-goal win as they had a fully fit squad for the first time this season.

Spanish right wing Carmen Martin Berenguer, who carried the bulk of Krim’s efforts in the Group Matches, shone once again and banged in a game-high eight goals for the visitors, whose fit-again Croatian left back Andrea Penezić capped her first EHF Champions League appearance this season with five goals.

Also on target was Brazilian line player Daniela Piedade, who miraculously resumed her career after recovering from a stroke she suffered last year, while  German right back Susann Müller chipped in with three goals for Krim.

Macedonian centre back Julija Nikolić hit the target seven times for Zvezda but her valiant solo effort was not enough for the home side to avoid what could turn out to be a costly defeat.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br