Bucuresti comeback win puts Rostov on brink of eliminationArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: CSM Bucuresti ended their three-match losing streak with a win from seven goals down at Rostov-Don, whose chances to progress have become very slim following the 22:20 defeat.

Bucuresti comeback win puts Rostov on brink of elimination

CSM Bucuresti claimed their main-round spot with a remarkable 22:20 victory in coach Aurelian Rosca's first match. Rostov-Don led 9:2 after 15 minutes but a stunning collapse brought the Russian team close to an early exit from the EHF Champions League, with only one win in five matches.

  • Aurelian Rosca replaced Jakob Vestergaard on Monday, and won his first game as CSM coach four days later

  • CSM won all four games against Rostov in 2016 as they also the team from Russia in last season's quarter-finals

  • Rostov led by as much as seven goals (9:2) in the first half as CSM were unable to score for 14 minutes

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 20:22 (11:10)

There was simply no room for mistake for both Rostov and CSM, as two of the big favourites for this year’s EHF FINAL4 were on the brink of elimination following heavy defeats against Györ and Midtjylland.

With an unexpected coaching change after Jakob Vestergaard had only 14 official games in charge, CSM needed a win to stop their worst-ever three-game losing streak in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

6:0 partial left no chance for CSM

The title holders usually enjoyed brilliant starts to the game, only to fade in the second half. The scenario was totally different in Rostov as coach Aurelian Rosca had no ace up his sleeve.

The Romanian side never found the proper rhythm in attack and were totally dominated by the Russian aggressive defence.

The defence was worse than usual, with Linnea Torstensson and Camille Ayglon being too soft, as Alexandrina Barbosa scored four goals in the first 18 minutes.

The difference was made, however, between the 3rd and the 15th minute, with a 6:0 partial from Rostov to take a commanding 9:2 lead.

Rostov lost touch while CSM took advantage

It was a tale of two collapses in the first half, as Rostov lost their touch in attack and Barbosa started to miss shots, while CSM took advantage and came back to reduce their difference to only one goal, 10:9, after a 7:1 partial.

There was more drama after the break, as CSM soon took over the lead (13:12) after a blistering start.

With Rostov slowly fading, like they did against Györ, CSM even took a four-goal advantage (19:15), mainly thanks to an amazing game from Jelena Grubisic, who replaced Paula Ungureanu as CSM goalkeeper.

While the Russian side tried to mount a comeback, Ilina, Vyakhireva and Barbosa ultimately fell short, and the Russian side managed just nine goals after the break.

It left Rostov with hardly any realistic chances to progress. They will have to hope that Midtjylland will not win a point in their last two games against Györ and CSM, while Jan Leslie's team must win against the Hungarian powerhouse.

Post-match statements

Aurelian Rosca, CSM Bucuresti coach: "We started not good but we believed in ourselves, in our chances and values. That’s why we managed to win."

Jelena Grubisic, CSM Bucuresti goalkeeper: "It was not a good beginning but we kept our fighting spirit. My congratulations to our new coach, he came three days but did a great job. I think we deserved the victory."

Jan Leslie, Rostov-Don coach: "We are very disappointed. We were winning 9:2 but then missed eight goals. In the second half we played worse, I took timeouts because our girls were nervous."

Galina Mekhdieva, Rostov-Don goalkeeper: "We are very sad after the defeat. Jan took a full responsibility but I think it’s not right. We did everything he asked but we had problems with the realisation."

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ew