Dramatic win clinches Main Round berth for MetzArticle
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GROUP D MATCH REVIEW: Metz Handball qualified for the Women’s EHF Champions League’s Main Round with an electric display against HCM Baia Mare on Friday.

Dramatic win clinches Main Round berth for Metz

Metz Handball needed a positive result on Romanian soil on Friday to continue to the next phase of the Women’s EHF Champions League. The French champions sealed the deal with a tense win; their second against HCM Baia Mare this season.

Baia Mare must wait for Group D’s last game between Larvik and MKS Selgros Lublin on Saturday, which will determine their fate. Only a Polish win can stop Romanian champions booking their ticket to the main round.

Group D
HCM Baia Mare (ROU) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 23:24 (12:10)

“We are almost qualified. Metz is not as good a team as Larvik or Lublin,” said Baia Mare’s coach, Costica Buceschi, prior to Friday’s match.
Buceschi did not forget that the French side won comfortably at home (34:24) in the first leg and his team were prepared, executing their game plan well in the first half.

Bar a few missteps, the Romanian powerhouse had the upper hand, so it was no surprise that the hosts were winning by a two-goal margin (12:10) at half-time.


However, the second half was abysmal in terms of performance for Baia Mare. Just after the break, a six-minute span with no goals for Baia Mare turned the game on its head, as Metz took the lead and never looked back.

Not even the aggressive defence displayed by Buceschi’s team – a 3-3 half-court press – produced results. With Barbara Arenhart and Paula Claudia Ungureanu only saving 25% of Metz’s shots, backs Grace Zaadi Deuna and Ana Gros, and right wing Jurswailly Luciano took advantage of the less-than-perfect goalkeeping to keep the visitors ahead.

As the clock wound down, Baia Mare recorded a number of turnovers in offence, while Metz kept their cool and emerged victorious to qualify for the main round.

“We had a terrible game; they had better defence. It is very sad to say this, but we did not deserve to win. We are hoping to progress to the main round so I hope Larvik can defeat Lublin,” said Ungureanu, who could not stop her tears as the fans were leaving the Lascar Pana Arena in Baia Mare.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg