Krim cruise past Michalovce, Conversano shock EuropeArticle
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GROUP 3 REVIEW: Slovenian champions are on the right track to reclaim a berth in the European top flight, while Lublin shockingly stumbled on Conversano.

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Krim cruise past Michalovce, Conversano shock Europe

Italian champions Indeco Conversano have rewritten handball books by recording a heroic win against strong favourites from MKS Selgros Lublin on their first apperance in the most prestigious European competition.

They will challenge hosts Krim Mercator in Sunday's decider at 17:00 for the only spot in the 2016/17 Women's EHF Champions League Group Matches. 

•    Iuventa will miss out once again on their sixth attempt to qualify into the Women's EHF Champions League group matches
•    37-year-old Krim coach Uros Bregar wins the battle of two young perspective coaches against six years younger counterpart Frantisek Urban
•    Indeco Conversano with a fairy tale debut win 28:27 against MKS Selgros Lublin
•    Laura Ratondo put up a stunning display, scoring ten goals for the Italian club


RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs Iuventa Michalovce (SVK) 28:22 (14:10)

Slovenian runners Krim Mercator advanced into the Sunday´s final in front of full crowd at Sportna Dvorana Kodeljevo after beating Slovakian champions Iuventa Michalovce. Nervous performance by both teams underlined by reliable displays from both goalkeepers and poor effectivity of Iuventa from the back court.

Baric's effectivity

Krim took the lead in 3rd minute by left wing Baric from a seven-meter throw. Slovenian best player in 2015 showed great effectivity from the wing supported by agile movement forward.

Krim missed on number of chances saved by superb Raquel Alvarez Lafuente, otherwise difference in score would have been bigger. Baric together with left back Mirjeta Bajramoska scored six each.

"We were well prepared for our opponents. We know all of their actions, so we stopped most of them. Our attack was great and I think we have some more reserve for tomorrow. Goalkeepers will save more shots tomorrow and we will do everything for another win," Baric said.

Defensive success

Aggresive defensive performance supported by experienced Misa Marincek made it extremely difficult for Iuventa Michalovce in back court. On contrary 6-0 defence of Slovakian club was leaving spaces in the central zone for Slovenian attacks. Poor effectivity of Slovakian champions from back court proved to be crucial.

Goalkeeper's show

Spanish goalkeeper, biggest signing in Iuventa's history in summer 2015, Raquel Alvarez Lafuente kept the hopes of Michalovce alive in the first half with her important saves as goalkeepers at both ends showed their class.

"We started very bad, Krim was playing better defence than we. I think our team was frighened and didn't try enough.

"Later we tried to equalise the result. Tomorrow we will go on head for win. Third round of EHF Cup means more rest and less matches. We will hope for win and I know we can win it. We have a great team, we are young, we always stay together and I think we can come to the group stage. We had much respect to Krim and they deserved to win."

MKS Selgros Lublin (POL) vs Indeco Conversano (ITA) 27:28 (12:14)

A few would have consider Italian side to have a word in the second semi-final match up against Polish champions from Lublin. However Giuseppe Fanelli team have insipred the handball minnows from all around Europe and write their own fairytale.

Against all odds

This win will go into the books. Strong team display supported by great individual performances. Italy, known more for their beach handball qualities, shocked Europe. Conversano played first time amongst European elite and they took it from the right end. No fear, brave, determined and inspiring performance supported by charismatic Giuseppe Fanelli on the sideline.

Laura Rotondo

After tonight, Lublin fans and players will remember her very well. MVP of the Italian league in past two seasons has been unstoppable. Firing from every position, scoring goals and being true leader of the team, keeping up the flag of the southern Italian team flying high right up until the end.

Drama unfolds...

Whole second half has been very close. Ever since Katarzyna Kozimur equalised in 38th minute, both teams were fighting for every ball and every goal. In 58th minute, while Laura Rotondo has been suspeneded, Krystsina Repelewska scored into the empty net as Fanelli pulled out the goalie. However Italins found an answer again. When Rotondo was not present, Arasay Durran pulled the strings, equalized and scored the winning goal in the last minute after Fanelli's time out.

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / br