Buducnost win extra-time thriller for the finalArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: The big Balkan derby at the MVM EHF FINAL4 had to be decided over 70 minutes after Montengrin team survived two comebacks of Macedonian champions.

Buducnost win extra-time thriller for the final

Montenegrin side Buducnost Podgorica won the second semi-final of MVM EHF FINAL4 over Vardar Skopje but what seemed to be an easy game for the 2012 winners at half-time turned out to be thriller as Vardar came back to life with a vengeance.

"I feel empty. It was a difficult match and we had this extra time. Winning this doesn’t make us relaxed but it gives us some confidence. We thought what we did in the first half was enough but we had to fight in the end and we made it," Buducnost right back Camilla Dalby said.

MVM EHF FINAL4, semi-final:
WHC Vardar SCBT vs Buducnost 20:22 ET (16:16, 6:11)

Convincing start from Buducnost

It was time for the Macedonian and Montenegrin supporters to take over the arena but it was obvious from the very first minute of the second semi final that the Hungarian fans back Vardar. The red and black had the lead but it took Buducnost only a few minutes to take over as Vardar could not really find their rhythm in attack.

The Montenegrin wall was as massive as ever and Vardar immediately found themselves in deep trouble when they could not run at their opponent. Buducnost quickly built up a five goal advantage which they could hold on to despite the referees kept sending out their players. Even when in man advantage Vardar could not find the net as Clara Woltering shone behind the Buducnost wall from the first minutes.

Goal-shy spectacle

As Andrea Lekic was kept out of action for most of the time Vardar had effectively no chance to shoot through the double defensive line. The Montenegrin even had energy to keep the Vardar fastbreaks at bay, and inspite of the fact that Buducnost had their own problems in attack they were clearly controlling the game as the Macedonians scored only 6 goals in the first half.

After the break Lekic brought his team into a touch better position but Dragana Cvijic kept scoring from the line to keep the distance safe for Buducnost. The match got more exciting when Vardar started to shoot more efficiently but that did not mean the Macedonians found the remedy for neither the outstanding defence of their opponent nor the unbeatable Woltering. Until the last 20 minutes at least.

Vardar are alive!

When Vardar got their defence together they tried to keep the momentum on their side. They climbed back to two goals and from that moment it was obvious Buducnost lost control of the game. Suzane Leynaud also made some saves as Vardar even had the chance to close the gap to one goal but Lekic was denied from the penalty spot.

Suddenly it was a tight game. Buducnost lost their defensive edge and at the same time the Macedonian wall started to look much better than in the first half. Leynaud reached the level set by Woltering, both goalkeepers were excellent and with Vardar trailing by one the clash became a battle of nerves.

Three minutes from stoppage time Pineau equalized and if Indira Kastratovic had not taken her time out in the worst possible moment her team would have taken the lead, too. Both teams had chances to win the game in the dying seconds but the match headed to overtime.

The thriller continues

Buducnost once again put their defence together for the overtime but it was even more decisive that their attacks became straightforward. The Podgoricans, who scored just five goals in the second half, managed to score four in five minutes and Vardar was in deep trouble again.

However, Vardar was at the heel of Buducnost in no time, the three-goal lead disappeared in the second half of extra-time but the last word was said by the Montenegrins again when Kinga Byzdra scored from the wing to seal the final for Buducnost.

"I am disappointed and it is never easy to talk after a game like this but we got what we deserved because we lost focus in the first half and we couldn’t score. It was very tiring to come back all the time both physically and mentally," Allison Pineau from Vardar said.

TEXT: Bence Martha / br