‘We are not finished yet,’ says LeslieArticle
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Randers see a way back despite a poor start to 2013

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‘We are not finished yet,’ says Leslie

2013 has not begun in a positive way for Danish league champions Randers HK.

The Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round opened with a clear 25:19 defeat away against Larvik, which was followed by an even clearer home defeat to Györ, who won 25:18 Monday evening.

On the domestic front, things have gone equally poorly. Randers have dropped to fourth position in the national league, with both playmakers, Macarena Aguilar and Berit Kristensen sidelined with injuries for several weeks.

If this was not enough, news about players leaving the club started flowing faster than the Danish river Gudenåen.

Brazilian national team goalkeeper Chana Masson will join Viborg HK this summer, while French left winger Siraba Dembele announced her departure at the end of the season.

However, every cloud has a silver lining, and this silver lining has also become visible over Randers lately.

Despite the seven goal home defeat to Györ, it was encouraging that Macarena Aguilar could play again for parts of her comeback from the foot injury she sustained during the EHF EURO 2012 in December.

Berit Kristensen had already celebrated her comeback to active duty a week before.

News that the gap that Masson will be leaving in goal is set to be filled out by the experienced Ana Voicic was also warmly greeted.

The 33-year-old Serbian keeper, who has a lot of previous Women’s EHF Champions League experience with Aalborg DH, is leaving the Aalborg club after six years to move 65 kilometers south to Randers.

“This just convinces me that we are going to have a strong team again next year,” head coach Jan Leslie told ehfCL.com.

When it comes to the chances in the competition this season, he is far from ready to give up either, in spite of two clear defeats in succession.

“We have to acknowledge that Györ were better than us Monday night. In particular, they defended better.

“However, we are not finished yet. During the group phase, many media deemed us out after three matches, but still we managed to proceed to the main round.

“So far, we have only played two matches, but it is obvious that we are going to need some points now. Why should we not be able to take two in Montenegro against Buducnost on Sunday?

“They are under pressure after also having lost both their first matches and still with a lot of expectations from their home crowd,” said Leslie.

While the Randers coach managed to remain optimistic, the optimism was naturally bigger in the Györ camp.

Not only have the Hungarians won the first two group matches clearly, but they have only conceded 35 goals so far.

The defence was also what their Norwegian line player Heidi Løke emphasized on, as she spoke to the Danish TV station TV3Sport after the match.

“I think we played very well, especially in our defence, and Katrine (Lunde Haraldsen) did extremely well in our goal.

“Now Larvik will probably be our toughest rival for the group win. They have a very strong team,” concluded Løke.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor