Györ end their final curseArticle
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Hungarian side win the Women’s EHF Champions League for the first time after beating Larvik in the second leg

Györ end their final curse

Györ have done it for the first time. Cheered on by 5,019 spectators in the sold-out Veszprem Arena, the Hungarian side secured their first ever Women’s EHF Champions League title and raised the trophy, handed over by EHF President Jean Brihault and Ivasn Vetesi, President of the Hungarian Handball Federation.

After losing the finals in 2009 against Viborg HK (Denmark) and 2012 against Buducnost Podgorica (Montenegro) Györ ended their finals curse of seven European Cup finals without a trophy but were made to work for their title in the end.

After winning the first leg of the 2012/13 finals 24:21 at 2011 Champions League winner Larvik HK one week ago, they made their dream come true with a 23:22 (13:8) victory on home turf.

This achievement included several remarkable individual stories: Anita Görbicz (who had to leave the court for a few minutes with an injury in the 50th minute) won her first European title (with Györ and the Hungarian national team).

Unstoppable Norwegian line player Heidi Löke took the trophy for the second time in her third straight Champions League final after winning in 2011 with Larvik and losing last season with Györ.

Match winning goalkeeper Katrine Lunde (22 saves) won her third title among Europe’s elite after 2009 and 2010 with Viborg.

Jovanka Radicevic capped-off her near perfect season after winning the Olympic silver medal and the EHF EURO title with Montenegro by taking the Champions League trophy in her last international match for Györ before leaving to Vardar Skopje together with her teammate Andrea Lekic.

Györ set out their stall for after a brilliant starting period. Forgin 6:2 ahead and were already seven goals ahead at 9:2, which meant an overall lead of ten goals after 24:21 in the first leg.

Key to this lead was Norwegian goalkeeper Katrine Lunde, who saved ten of 12 Larvik shots.

Larvik coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad needed an early time-out to re-adapt his tactics –and some changes in the back court axix brought an intermediate boost, started by three goals of recovered Nora Mörk and extended by brilliant goals from Anja Edin and backed by the saves of Cecilie Leganger (in total 18 saved shots).

However, after 30 minutes the distance was still five goals at 13:8 and the fans were already starting their celebrations in and outside the arena. When Györ went 17:10 ahead, the destination of the trophy was all but certain.

To their credit, Larvik never surrendered: Leganger shut up shop and Györ became nervous, allowing the guest team to bridge the gap.

Even a time-out from coach Ambros Martin did not stop the downswing. Eleven minutes before the end the margin was only two goals at 19:17, as Györ could only find the net twice in ten minutes.

The injury to Anita Görbicz gave Györ the kick they needed to hold on to the win. When Radicevic and Lekic scored to make it 22:18, the contest seemed to be over, despite the efforts of former World Handball Player of the Year, Gro Hammerseng, who had started striking just before after an incredible overall series of 14 consecutive missed shots in both finals.

Four minutes before the final whistle Nora Mörk hit the net for 21:22, the closest gap since 2:1 and backed by incredible Leganger, Larvik still hoped for the miracle.

Hammerseng equalized for 22.22 with 75 seconds left on the clock.

Ambros Martin called a time-out with the score at 23:22. Thanks to Martin’s advice, Györ managed to hold on to the victory and secured their first ever European Cup title with a four goal win over the two legs

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor