Györ edge towards first European titleArticle
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Görbicz and Norwegian duo shine for Hungarian champions in the first leg of the Women's EHF Champions League Final

Győr edge towards first European title

Hungarian title holders Győri Audi ETO KC produced an effervescent second half performance to earn a precious three-goal win at Larvik that put them in the driving seat to with their maiden EHF Champions League title and their first silverware in any European competition.

Playmaker Anita Görbicz was the game’s top scorer with eight goals, but pivot Heidi Løke and fellow Norwegian goalkeeper Katrine Lunde were just as instrumental in Győr’s success. The indomitable Løke scored six goals and created a barrage of opportunities for her teammates with unmatched skills on the six-metre line, while the athletic Lunde racked up a whopping 20 saves in a contest that will surely go down as a classic.

Women's EHF Champions League Final
Larvik (NOR) vs Győri Audi ETO KC (HUN) 21:24 (13:12)

The early stages of the match suggested it would be a battle of two outstanding goalkeepers, as 38-year old veteran Cecilie Leganger was also in fine form for Larvik. The Norwegians carved out a 6:4 lead with right back Linn Jørum Sulland rifling in three goals, but their advantage was short-lived as Montenegrin winger Jovanka Radičević responded with three goals of her own to put the visitors 9:7 ahead.

Roared on by their passionate fans, the home team engineered a 4:0 spurt to turn the game around again and after the Hungarian side fought back to draw level, line player Isabel Blanco scored on the buzzer to give Larvik a slender one-goal lead at halftime.

Twice beaten by Győr in this season’s Main Round, it looked like Larvik would make it third time lucky after another four goals without reply gave them a promising 17:13 lead early in the second half.

But their attack then came to a screeching halt as the visitors made their lethal fast breaks count while Lunde seemed to mesmerise the home team’s shooters and stopped everything that came her way.

With Görbicz, Løke and Radičević unstoppable at the other and, Győr romped to a 19:17 lead as their sizeable contingent of fans who made the long trip up north held their scarves aloft in a jam-packed arena, creating a cracking atmosphere fitting the occasion.

Larvik did everything in their power to stay in the match but a late three-goal flurry by Görbicz vanquished any possibility of a late twist and Brazilian Eduarda Amorim put the icing on the cake for the visitors when she rifled in a long-range effort in the dying seconds.

Having lost last year’s final to Montenegrins Budućnost Podgorica on away goals, Győr now have every chance of finally capturing the elusive trophy when they host the return leg in Veszprém next Saturday.

Leganger deservedly won the accolade of Larvik’s player of the game with an impressive 17 saves, while Isabel Blanco led the home team’s scoring chart with five goals. Linn-Kristin Koren Riegelhuth and Sulland, who fizzed out after a bright opening, added four each while the legendary Gro Hammerseng was confined to just one goal, having been marked tightly throughout the gripping clash between Europe’s best two teams.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br