Vardar advance as Larvik bow out with winArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: HC Vardar saw their Women’s EHF FINAL4 berth never in danger but Larvik restored their pride by winning the return match

Vardar advance as Larvik bow out with win

HC Vardar are ready for the Women’s EHF FINAL4 despite a 28:26 away defeat to Larvik on Sunday afternoon.

Still, it was important for Larvik to leave the Women’s EHF Champions League with a win after their big 34:20 defeat in Skopje last weekend.

Larvik (NOR) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 28:26 (11:13)

HC Vardar are joining CSM Bucuresti and Györ Audi ETO KC in the Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest in the weekend of May 7-8. Vardar’s qualification was never in doubt in the Arena Larvik.

Larvik were never near to catch up with Vardar’s 14-goal lead after the first match. But due to a fine second half the Norwegian side managed to bow out of the tournament with a win.

Being 14 goals down Larvik were more focused on restoring their honour than on the chance to turn the tables.

Larvik got the better start to the return match. They build a 4:1 lead within six minutes, forcing Vardar coaches Indira Kastratovic and David Davis to call a timeout.

The timeout seemed to wake up the Vardar players, who scored the next five goals.

The visitors held on to that two-goal lead for most of the rest of the first half. At half-time two goals were still separating the teams.

Larvik kept Vardar from scoring for the first five minutes and eight seconds of the second half. Even though Larvik themselves scored only twice, it was the start to a strong half for the home team.

Larvik were highly motivated to erase the poor impression from their performance in the first match.

Vardar lost line player Anja Althaus to her third two-minute suspension eight and a half minute into the second half, and she was missed in the Vardar defence for the rest of the match.

After a few more one-goal leads for the visitors, Larvik took over and got ahead by four goals several times before winning by two.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew