Larvik eliminate Thüringer and Baia Mare shock FleuryArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: Thüringer are out of the race for the quarter-finals and Baia Mare decide an epic goalkeeping contest in the dying seconds of the match.

Larvik eliminate Thüringer and Baia Mare shock Fleury

Larvik confidently defeated Thüringer HC in Group 1 of the Women’s EHF Champions League which effectively killed all hopes for the German team to advance to the quarter-finals.

In the second Group 1 match of the evening, HCM Baia Mare continued their unbeated run, increasing the tally to four consecutive wins, and edging closer to the quarter-finals with a win against Fleury Loiret Handball in France. 

Group 1
Thüringer HC (GER) vs Larvik (NOR) 20:28 (11:13)

The German champions tried to make the most of the do-or-die situation they were in and produced a great first half against Larvik.

Despite Larvik taking the lead for most of the first 30 minutes, Thüringer remained close to their visitors.

The Norwegian’s attack were solid in the first half but became even more fierce in the second half, which proved to be too much for Thüringer to cope with.

Katrin Engel, Eliza Buceschi and Kerstin Wohlbold together scored seven goals from seventeen shots and the visitors lost all hope well before the run-in.

In spite of the fact that Nora Mørk needed seventeen shots for her nine goals, Larvik comfortably kept the game under control, with goals from Karoline Breivang and Anja Edin-Hammerseng.

The visitors deservedly beat the German team who are now out of the competition.

Larvik are sitting in third, trailing FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaira by two points but the Norwegian side have not secured their quarter-final spot just yet.

Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA) vs HCM Baia Mare (ROM) 17:18 (8:8)

In the wake of the unexpected, yet well-deserved victory at Larvik, Fleury Loiret were confident they could put an end to Baia Mare’s undefeated run through the main round. 

Both teams were aware of the importance of the game but much to the joy of the the enthusiastic French crowd it was the home side that started brightly, building an early lead courtesy of some excellent saves by Darly Zoqbi de Paula. 

But the visitors soon gathered momentum from the breathtaking performance of Paula Ungureanu and the match became a struggle for goals as both defensive systems worked well and both goalkeepers had a huge game. 

Fleury managed to maintain their narrow lead despite the fact that their most prolific scorers could not find the net (Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa and Gnonsiane Niombla scored a combined seven goals from 22 shots), but Baia Mare struggled on the score board too. 

The last ten minutes became a battle of nerves as the visitors equalised with goals from Lois Abbingh and the tension rose as the game seemed to be heading for a draw. 

In the very last second the ball was given to Allison Pineau, who had scored only two goals from eight shots at that stage. The current Champions League top scorer sent a perfect ball to the bottom right corner, winning the game for Baia Mare.

The Romanian outfit are now fourth, level on points with Larvik, but made a huge step towards qualification with the win on Sunday – the in-form team would have to lose both fixtures to let the quarter-final slip through their fingers.  

"The victory is about the details. We lost too many details today," said Fleury coach Fred Bougeant. "I’m disappointed for my players, because they were working a lot during these weeks. So, the end of the game is hard to accept."

TEXT: Bence Martha / ec / cg