Espen Christensen: The chances are small, but they existArticle
«Go back

INTERVIEW - Having lost the first leg of the quarter-final 31:21 away against HCM Constanta, the chances for Lugi HF to reach the EHF Cup Finals are small, admits their Norwegian goalkeeper Espen Christensen, but he insists that the chance is still there.

Espen Christensen: The chances are small, but they exist

One of the key players by Lugi HF who won Group A of the EHF Cup Group Phase, has been goalkeeper Espen Christensen.

With a constantly high level in goal, the 28-year-old Norwegian international has played a great part in the Swedish team's success in the tournament. A success which came to an end so far in Romania on Easter Saturday, as Lugi lost as clearly as 21:31 to HCM Constanta.

The big defeat has not made Espen Christensen, who has played 17 internationals for Norway stop hoping to reach the EHF Cup Finals, though.

However, the Norwegian, who has played in Sweden since 2008, admits that a lot of things will have to go Lugi's way in the Färs&Frosta Sparbank Arena Saturday evening, if the hope is going to be fulfilled. Until your defeat in Constanta, your team had done great in the EHF Cup this season and won your group. What do you see as the reasons for your success this season?

Espen Christensen: The main reason for our success in Europe this season is our defensive play, I think. We have a defence of international class and with much experience. We also have the ability to improve our game when we meet stronger opponents, and this has contributed to surprising several of our opponents in the EHF Cup. You also started well in Constanta, leading 7:5 and 8:6, but ended up losing 31:21. What went wrong for you in the last 40 minutes?

Espen Christensen: Against Constanta, we had a game plan which we followed in an exemplary manner for the first 20 minutes. From then on we began to make simple mistakes in the attack which Constanta made mercilessly use of to make swift counter-attacks.

Uncertainty when being in trouble and lack of experience playing this kind of matches became deciding for the defeat being as big as it got. If we had managed to keep our game together until half time, I am sure the match would have got a different result. Your chances to reach the EHF Cup Finals may have become rather small with this big defeat, but what would it mean to the team and the club to reach the Finals in Berlin?

Espen Christensen: It would be one of the greatest, if not the greatest successes in the history of the club. And to us players it would obviously be a memory for life. Do you see any chance to catch up with the ten goal defeat in the second leg?

Espen Christensen: The chances are there, but obviously it will be a difficult task. Constanta is an experienced team with the qualities to play this kind of matches. We know, however, that they are more vulnerable on away ground than when playing at home. What will it take exactly to turn the tables Saturday and qualify for the EHF Cup Finals after all?

Espen Christensen: Our chances are based on playing a formidable match in the defence and running a lot of counter-attacks in order to get some easy goals. If we play a perfect match, and if we have a little luck at the same time, we still have a small chance.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br