FTC start the main round with a victoryArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: With a second half comeback in Metz, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria claimed two points in the opening game of Group 1 in the EHF Champions League Main Round.

FTC start the main round with a victory

The Hungarian runner-up FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria earned their first victory in the EHF Champions League Main Round. They had a slow start in Metz, but turned the game around in the second half and added two points to the five they carried over from the group matches.

  • Metz missed out on points for the first time on home court in the current EHF Champions League season
  • FTC remain unbeaten away from home
  • Ana Gros was Metz’s top scorer with nine goals
  • Nerea Peana Abaurrea scored seven times for FTC


Metz Handball (FRA) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 25:28 (14:13)

Metz entered the Main Round with four points carried over from the previous stage - one point less than FTC. Their clash played an important role in their fight for the quarter-final spots.

Prior to this game, Metz had not dropped any points in their home matches in the EHF Champions League this season, while their Hungarian rivals had yet to lose an away match.

Metz started strong

Metz right wing Laura Flippes was still injured, and could not participate in this match. The French champions also had concerns about Sladjana Pop-Lazic, yet despite recent health problems, she was able to participate in the game.

Cheered on by their home crowd, Metz enjoyed a strong start. FTC players looked nonchalant, and the hosts captalised on their frequent mistakes and went into the lead thanks to fast counter attack play. Ana Gros and Xenia Smits were effective up front, and the French team led 8:4 by the 10th minute when FTC’s head coach Gabor Elek called the first time out.

His talk seemed to work- the Hungarians started to play more aggressive, faster handball. Their goalkeeper Blanka Biro made a number of saves, so FTC gradually caught up and almost drew level at half-time, where the score stood at 13:14.

The visitors gained momentum

Late in the first half, and early in the second, Metz were unable to score for a period of more than ten minutes. The visitors capitalised on this oppourtunity, and following a 5:0 scoring run took the 18:14 lead by the 36th minute.

FTC gained momentum and became hard to stop. Their back court players Zita Szucsanszki, Nerea Pena Abaurrea and Dora Hornyak played particularly well, and the visitors extended their advantage to 27:21 with ten minutes to go.

For the remaining time, the French side pushed hard to come back and reduced the gap, yet it was too late even to fight for one point. FTC went on to seal the victory and now have seven points, while Metz stay on four points. 

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / kc