Vardar scrape a win to set up a dream quarter-final against GyörArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: A vigorously contested game ended with Vardar winning by the skin of their teeth against Dinamo-Sinara, to send them to a dream quarter-final against Györi Audi ETO

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Vardar scrape a win to set up a dream quarter-final against Györ

An astonishing 33:25 defeat in the first leg meant that Vardar needed a nine-goal win against Dinamo-Sinara to leapfrog the Russian champions in Group 1’s final rankings.

However, the turnover-prone Macedonian powerhouse could only scrape a one-goal win (28:27) against a gritty Russian side.

While Dinamo will find out who their opponents will be on Sunday night, Vardar will have to face the current title holders Györ.


WHC Vardar SCBT (MKD) vs Dinamo-Sinara (RUS) 28:27 (15:13)

If Vardar wanted to avoid a blockbuster quarter-final against Györ, the Macedonian champions would have needed a perfect performance in Saturday’s game.

But the Russian champions were no pushover and after only 150 seconds, Dinamo were already in front by three goals.

A 9-2 run sparked by Andrea Penezic and Anja Althaus in the next 15 minutes saw Vardar turn the game upside down and equipped Vardar with a fighting chance of achieving their objective.

But hosts could not dampen their motivated opponent spirts fully.

With an aggresive 3-3 defence, that limited Penezic, Lekic and Lazovic, Dinamo ensured that Vardar had no chance to pick up their pace.

A relentless Anna Kochetova, Dinamo’s top scorer with 10 goals, ran havoc into Vardar’s defence, as Dinamo came back and even took the lead, 24:23, with ten minutes to go.

A late spark from Penezic and Althaus, Vardar’s most prolific scorers, with seven and five goals respectively, was enough for the hosts to win the game, 28:27, but insufficient to power Vardar to second place.

As Vardar finish third in Group 1, the Macedonian powerhouse has only three weeks to put aside their woes before they host Györ in the quarter-final first leg.

On the other side, Dinamo-Sinara has to wait until Sunday to find out their opponent, as HCM Baia Mare, Viborg HK and Metz Handball fight for the third and fourth in Group 2.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / bc