Hungarians on top – new hope for title holdersArticle
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Hungarian teams lead both main round groups, while ruling champions Buducnost may still hope.

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Hungarians on top – new hope for title holders

It was a fine weekend for Hungarian women´s handball, when the first half of the main round was concluded. After Györ took a clear lead in Group 1 Saturday through their convincing 24:18 win in Larvik, FTC-Rail Cargo copied that achievement Sunday in Group 2 through a 30:26 win at home in the top game against RK Krim Mercator.

In Group 1, reigning champions Budućnost gained fresh hope to proceed to the semi-finals, as they got their first points in the main round, when they came back from being two goals down against Randers HK to win 24:22.

Group 1
Budućnost vs. Randers HK 24:22 (12:11)

Budućnost could send left winger Majda Mehmedović on for the first time since she injured her right knee at the EHF EURO 2012, while middle back Anđela Bulatović was also able to play in spite of having broken her nose at training Thursday. By Randers, there was doubt about goalkeeper Chana Masson who sustained an ankle injury in a domestic league match Wednesday.

Just like Bulatović, Masson got fit, though, and Randers should be happy about that. With a number of fine saves, two seven meters shots among them, the Brazilian keeper had her great part in the fact that the Danish champions were leading 8:4 at the middle of the first half.

The home team managed to work them selves back into the game, though, not least thanks to their goalkeeper, Clara Woltering who did just as well over the 60 minutes as her colleague at the other end of the court. After 28 minutes and 40 seconds, the score was even for the first time, at 11:11, after Randers had been leading until then.

In the last minute of the first half, then, when Mehmedović, scored her first goal after her long injury break, it did not only mark Buducnost´s first lead in the match. It was also the half time result.

The second half started as equally, as the first 30 minutes had ended, but when Buducnost got ahead 21:17, it looked like the decision. Through four goals in succession, Randers made sure that the last minutes were still exciting, though. At the end, however, Buducnost had the better nerves and managed to land their first win in the main round, while Randers are still left without points.

Group 2
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria vs. RK Krim Mercator 30:26 (14:15)

Before the start of the Champions League, not many people considered FTC to be among the favourites to win the tournament. Nevertheless are the Hungarians on top of Group 2 after the first half of the main round. After two narrow wins, the victory was somewhat clearer this Sunday, when the only other undefeated team in the group was sent home to Slovenia with a four goal deficit.

During the first half not much indicated a triumph for FTC, though. Krim had the initiative through the first 30 minutes, and the visitors were three goals ahead twice, and with four once, at 15:11 shortly before half time.

However, the hosts finished the first half best with three goals and succession, and the good spell continued after the break. Three minutes into the second half did FTC get their first lead in the match, at 17:16, and they were never to let go of the lead again.

One minute and 45 seconds with two players more on the court helped further to increase the Hungarian lead which was at three goals already then, to five goals at 28:23.

Krim managed to make a late comeback with three goals in succession, but their hopes were almost extinguished as Alena Abramovich saved a seven meter shot with less than two minutes left, and after that FTC decided the game with the last two goals of the match. FTC lead the group with six points, with Krim on four and Oltchim Vâlcea on two, while Zvezda Zvenigorod are still on zero.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br