Buducnost and Thüringer make winning main round startsArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: Buducnost and Thüringer celebrated important away wins in their opening main round games on a day when goalkeepers shone all around in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

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Buducnost and Thuringer make winning Main Round starts

Saturday’s doubleheader produced a pair of thrilling games with the favourites living up to their billing and clinching precious road wins in their bid to reach the premier club competition’s knockout stages.

German goalkeeper Clara Woltering stood out in Buducnost’s impressive win at Russian rivals Dinamo Sinara and her compatriot Jana Krause was also instrumental in Thüringer’s success at Krim Mercator.

Women's EHF Champions League Main Round, Round 1


Dinamo Sinara (RUS) vs Buducnost (MNE) 18:25 (11:12)

Montenegrin title holders Buducnost Podgorica maintained their unbeaten record in this season’s EHF Champions League after an impressive second-half performance, inspired by majestic goalkeeper Clara Woltering, gave them an emphatic win in Russia.

Woltering racked up a stunning 21 saves and speedy left wing Majda Mehmedovic scored all her six goals in the second period, steering Buducnost to a valuable away win which left them top of their main round section with nine points from five games.

Dinamo goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina, who also enjoyed a great afternoon with a total of 15 saves, matched Woltering all the way in the first half, allowing her team to stay in touch with the competition’s 2012 winners.

The home team’s left back Olga Akopian led the charge in attack and when Sedoykina saved a pair of sitters from Mehmedovic early in the second half, it seemed Dinamo stood a decent chance of springing an upset.

But Mehmedovic then engineered a 4:0 by the visitors which effectively swung the match their way, with Woltering closing shop at the other end.

Dinamo fought back bravely and managed to reduce the deficit to 18:16 midway through the second half, but another Mehmedovic-led streak coupled with a barrage of superb saves by Woltering made sure there was going to be no final twist.

Although prolific right back Katarina Bulatovic was completely subdued by the home team’s tight marking, the depth of Buducnost’s bench was once again a telling factor as left back Cristina Neagu matched Mehmedovic with six goals while right wing Radmila Petrovic added five.

Akopian scored six for Dinamo, who did not let themselves down against one of Europe’s best teams despite a painful defeat in front of a full house in Volgograd.     

RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs Thüringer HC (GER) 23:26 (15:13)

Error-strewn and tense from start to finish, this intriguing contest turned out to be a rollercoaster in which Thüringer prevailed thanks to the outstanding duo of goalkeeper Jana Krause, who amassed 16 saves, and left back Nadja Nadgornaja who demonstrated her lethal shooting prowess in the second half.

Krim made the brighter start and took a 6:3 lead early on, only for the visitors to turn the tide and nose ahead 8:7 after the towering Nadgornaja, who finished with seven goals, netted her first.

The Slovenian side replied with a 3:0 run and held on to their two-goal advantage at halftime, with right wing Alja Koren leading the way as Macedonian sharpshooter Mirjeta Bajramoska could not fine her range against a packed Thüringer defence.

With France playmaker Allison Pineau also struggling in her Champions League debut for Krim after leaving WHC Vardar SCBT during the preliminary group stage, Koren and winger Tamara Mavsar were left pretty much to their own devices.

Mavsar scored her fourth to give Krim an 18:16 lead early in the second half but the visitors then seemed to move up a gear and riffled in five unanswered goals to turn the match on its head for good.

"First half was really good for us, but then we could not do the same in the second half. With strong defence and our perfect goalkepeer tonight the victory was in our hands," Mavsar said.

The home side tried hard to stay afloat with Mavsar and Koren, who finished with a game-high eight goals, firing on all cylinders but a whopping 17 turnovers cost them dearly as Nadgornaja also shone at the other end.

Slovakian Lydia Jakubisova also drove in two viral goals for Thüringer in the closing stages, stifling out the home team’s hopes of staging a late comeback.

The result lifted the German champions into the group’s fourth position on four points from five games, one ahead of fifth-placed Vardar and two more than bottom-of-the-table Krim.

"It was a very important match for us because we knew we had to win to stay in the race for the quarter-finals, but we started very nervously. We committed a lot of technical mistakes and had many missed shots. In the second half we were more patient and could turn the score," said Herbert Müller, Thüringer coach.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / br