Inspired Krim edge closer to last fourArticle
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Krim Mercator produced one of their best performances of the season to beat FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria 31:25

 Inspired Krim edge closer to last four

The battle for semi-final berths in the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round Group 2 intensified this weekend after Slovenian contenders Krim Mercator produced one of their best performances of the season to join FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria at the top with six points from four matches after beating them emphatically on home court on Sunday.

Romanians Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea, who hauled themselves back into contention with a 26:23 win at Russian rivals Zvezda Zvenigorod on Saturday, are two points behind the front-runners.

The emerging three-way battle for two semi-final berths from the group guarantees a thrilling last two matchdays.

Group 2: Krim Mercator (SLO) vs FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 31:25 (15:12)  

Krim Mercator may have scraped into the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round but once the Slovenian title holders reached the second group stage of the competition, they showed the makings of a side capable of beating the odds to reach the semi-finals.

Sunday’s impressive win over Ferencváros lifted Krim ever so close to the last four and they could seal their passage next weekend when they entertain bottom team Zvezda Zvenigorod, who have zero points from four matches and no chance of progressing.

FTC left back Zsuzsanna Tomori threw the gauntlet to the home side in the opening exchanges, when she was unstoppable and scored four goals from as many shots as the visitors took a 7:5 lead.

Her opposite number Andrea Penezić was equal to the challenge and the Slovenian side never looked back after the Croatian left back’s quickfire treble triggered a 7:2 run which put the home side in the driving seat.

Penezić and Tomori scored five goals each by halftime, with Krim comfortably maintaining their advantage before it swelled to eight goals in a one-sided second half.

With Tomori and her teammates unable to keep up with Krim’s relentless running and torrid pace, the home side showed lethal efficiency from either wing as well as from a barrage of fast breaks they engineered with aggressive and deep defence in their own half.

To their credit, FTC launched a spirited fightback in the last 10 minutes and managed to cut the deficit to 29:25 with five minutes left to set up a somewhat frantic finale, as Krim held on to win by more than four goals to make sure they have a better head-to-head record than FTC after losing the reverse fixture 30:26.

It means Krim will nose ahead of FTC in the standings if the two teams finish level on points but both sides still have plenty of work to do after Oltchim, who are away to FTC and at home to Krim in their last two games, stayed in the hunt.

Penezić scored eight goals for Krim followed, Germany’s Nina Wörz netted seven and Spanish right wing Carmen Martin Berenguer chipped in with five and most of them at key moments.

Tomori also had eight for FTC and Zita Szucsánszki added seven but the support cast failed to keep up with the duo, as Jelena Grubišić shone in Krim’s goal with a string of superb saves when her team built an unassailable lead.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / ts