Bucuresti shock Vardar to reach the finalArticle
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SEMI-FINAL REVIEW: The outstanding Jelena Grubisic and her HCM teammates did not give a chance to the unusually muffled Vardar, who just can’t get past the semi-final.

Bucuresti shock Vardar to reach the final

CSM Bucuresti completed one of the biggest upsets of EHF FINAL4 history by easily beating heavy favourites Vardar. Jelena Grubisic put up a decisive performance in goal but her team did not have a weak link for most of the game while the Macedonian outfit had one of the worst days of the entire season.

"It sounds crazy but today really was not enough for me. I think we can play even better again, it just shows you how much of a perfectionist I am. We lost 19 balls in attack, so there are places we can still work on," CSM coach Kim Rasmussen said after a surprisingly easy run to the final.

Women's EHF FINAL4 Semi-final:
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 27:21 (14:9)

The two relatively silent corners of the Papp László Aréna came to life for the second semi-final and the atmosphere provided by the Macedonian and Romanian fans remained great when newcomers CSM Bucuresti and Vardar took the court.

The Bucuresti fans had a lot more to cheer for as their team took a flying start. Jelena Grubisic made a couple of monster saves to demoralise the Macedonian shooters and thanks to goals from Oana Andrea Manea and Maria Fisker CSM quickly built up a five-goal lead.

“We did not feel any pressure because we came here. We were totally relaxed and for all we were a big surprise. I think everyone hoped that they will play against us because we were a safe win, but we showed an amazing defence. Everyone played at their best and I just cannot believe that we won by so many goals," Grubisic said.

Vardar, who participated in all three of the FINAL4 but never made it past the semi-final, looked perplexed even after their fist time-out after just ten minutes. On the other hand Bucuresti were enjoying a great game, the Romanian team defended well and showed some brilliant attacking skills, too.

When Bella Gulldén scored her second goal CSM were up by seven goals against the Vardar team that only managed to find a net six times in 23 minutes. Bucuresti did not have a weak link, while that was all Vardar had and the Macedonian team was in trouble at half-time.

Their struggles continued to the second half and it was only down to some great saves from Amandine Leynaud that it took Bucuresti quite a few minutes to start extending their lead. Vardar were both hapless and nervous and Bucuresti made the most of it extending their lead to double digits.

Ana Rodrigues Belo and Line Jörgensen devastated Vardar while Grubisic remained outstanding in goal. Andrea Lekic’s efforts were only enough to avoid a defeat of historic proportions as CSM caused one of the biggest upsets of FINAL4 history by easily beating their Macedonian rivals.

CSM Bucuresti made it to the final in their first appearance in the Budapest event and will face Győri Audi ETO. Vardar play for the bronze for the third time in a row.

“When we saw that we are playing against Bucharest all of us were already looking towards the final, no one thought of the semi-final first. We did not lose to a team that does not know how to play handball, we lost to top-class players. We should be ashamed that we allowed ourselves to burn out at the match as important as this one was. We did not play like we agreed in the locker room,” Jovanka Radicevic commented.

You can view photos of both semi-finals and more here.

TEXT: Bence Mártha / br