Heavyweights have easy away daysArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Both CSM Bucuresti and Buducnost won with ease on the second match day against IK Savehof and MKS Selgros Lublin respectively.

Heavyweights have easy away days

Both CSM Bucuresti and Buducnost won with ease on the second match day against IK Savehof and MKS Selgros Lublin respectively.

MKS Selgros Lublin (POL) vs Buducnost (MNE) 23:31 (13:17)

The visitors offered plenty of evidence to suggest they are favourites to retain the title, having bounced back after trailing by four goals midway through the first half, when the home side briefly looked capable of springing an upset.

Roared on by their vociferous fans, Lublin scored five unanswered goals to turn a 4:5 deficit into a 9:5 lead, with left back Iwona Niedzwiedz firing on all cylinders as she netted five of her team’s opening eight goals.

Buducnost coach Dragan Adzic then called a time-out and it paid off as the visitors, whose defending in the first half left a lot to be desired, turned the tide with a quick transition of the ball and unpredictable movement in attack.

With wingers Majda Mehmedovic and Radmila Petrovic often moving into the middle to confuse their markers, backs Cristina Neagu and Katarina Bulatovic found plenty of room to operate and unleash unstoppable shots from the nine-metre line.

The home side fought hard to stay in the game and were within touching distance until midway through the second half, with Buducnost still only three goals ahead (22:19) and not playing their trademark, ironclad defence.

However, Lublin were unable to force another twist as the defending champions finally hit top gear in the last quarter of the game, piercing through the home team’s ranks with lethal fast breaks.

The Polish side had run out of steam and the closing stages of the encounter produced something of an anti-climax to an otherwise enthralling contest with the effervescent Neagu leading the Buducnost scorers on a game-high nine goals, Bulatovic added six, while pivot Dragana Cvijic and Mehmedovic chipped in with four each.

The valiant Niedzwiedz finished with eight for Lublin and Marta Gega netted 6 from 16 shots, as Buducnost goalkeeper Marta Zderic pulled off a string of superb saves in the second half.

IK Savehof (SWE) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 17:28 (9:13)

Nobody knows Partillebohallen better than Isabelle Gullden, who started handball and played for four years as a pro for IK Savehof. But there was no time for sentimentality from one of the best playmakers in the world as the 26-year old Swedish ace scored four goals from five shots in the first half in CSM Bucuresti’s 28:17 win.

The Romanian champions hardly had any trouble against their Swedish counterparts; imposing their will from the first minutes and resulting in an-eight minute Savehof goalless run which decided the outcome.

Bucuresti ran riot between the 4th and the 12th minutes, scoring six unanswered goals as Gullden and Danish stalwart Line Jorgensen were unstoppable against Savehof’s aggressive 3-2-1 defence which could not find the answers to stop them.

The visitors were cruising at halftime, 13:9 and Savehof’s flurry of turnovers continued into the second half, as the hosts scored just one goal in the first 13 minutes.

It was no wonder that the Romanians, who were not even at 100%, increased their lead. Their coach, Kim Rasmussen, appeared unimpressed on his team’s bench, as he saw his side take advantage again and again from Savehof’s mistakes, eventually winning by an 11-goal margin, 28:17.

On her emotional return, Gullden, along with Jorgensen, was Bucharest’s top scorer on six goals, while Savehof relied on Julia Eriksson, who finished the game with four strikes.

It was the second win in as many games for the Romanian champions in the Women’s EHF Champions League and Group D is all set up for the next match between the top two sides - Bucuresti and Buducnost – in a match which could ultimately decide first place.

Savehof will have their own crunch game, against MKS Selgros Lublin, but will have to improve drastically from what was a disappointing offensive performance.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / Adrian Costeiu / amc