Györ save a point in last minute, CSM earn easy winArticle
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GROUP 2 REVIEW: Györ fight back from behind to earn a point against Larvik, while CSM power past Esbjerg.

Györ save a point in last minute, CSM earn easy win

With seven wins in their eight games this season, Györ looked like a force to be reckoned prior to throw-off in Sunday’s Women’s EHF Champions League matches. But the Hungarian powerhouse had serious trouble protecting their home court against Larvik, as the Norwegian champions let a win slip through their fingers in the last minute of the game.

After three main round matches, CSM managed to climb to the fourth place after their second consecutive win, 33:25, against Esbjerg, which puts them in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals. 

Györ tie the game in the last minute and remain group leaders with 11 points, while Larvik are second with eight points, tied with FC Midtjylland

Sunday’s result was Larvik's second away draw in the main round, after the one against CSM in January

CSM are on a five-game unbeaten streak in the Women's EHF Champions League, with four wins and a draw

Esbjerg could not put up a fight in the last 15 minute, as they had only 12 players available due to injuries

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Larvik (NOR) 27:27 (9:11)

Larvik proved they were ready for a tough fight from the beginning and the Hungarian powerhouse struggled to score, managing their first goal after six and a half minutes.

Györ's attacking woes continued as the game progressed, with Sandra Toft especially having a great game between Larvik's goal posts, while Anita Görbicz, Eduarda Amorim and Nora Mörk failed to find a way to beat the talented Danish keeper.

Therefore, it was no surprise that Larvik boasted a 6:2 lead after the first 15 minutes, with Györ recording a meagre 15 per cent shot efficiency during that period. 

Emotional rollercoaster for Györ

A time-out taken by coach Martin Ambros brought the hosts back to life, and a 4:0 partial tied the game at 6:6. But a relapse to their bad habits saw Györ slip up again with a series of costly mistakes that allowed Larvik to take advantage via counter attacks, creating another four-goal lead at 11:7.

It took Györ 37 minutes to claim the advantage for the first time, until a goal from Jana Knedlikova meant the Hungarian side were back in business. The teams continued to trade goals, and though Larvik were more clinical and composed in the dying minutes of the game, Györ managed the final two goals of the match and avoided a loss. 

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN) 33:25 (17:13)

Marred by injuries with only one goalkeeper, Emily Sando, and 11 field players, Esbjerg's chances for a successful game against CSM were truly slim.

Nevertheless, the Danish side fought hard and impressed in defence, keeping the title defenders from scoring their first goal for almost four minutes.

Soon enough however, CSM started to impose their will. Esbjerg could not find an answer for Gnonsiane Niombla's breakthroughs and the flurry of counter attacks launched by Jelena Grubisic, and the Romanian side took a commanding 9:5 lead after 15 minutes.

"I think that Esbjerg is a really good team, we saw what they could do in their previous games. Of course, we prepared well and managed to win two important points. It was vital for us to win and I am happy with what happened on the field today," said CSM coach Aurelian Rosca. "We had our trouble with several mistakes in attack, but the game has 60 minutes and it is virtually impossible not to make mistakes."

Injury-depleted Esbjerg fight to the end

Esbjerg's desperate attempts for a comeback seemed quashed by a strong game from CSM, who managed to keep their opponents at bay through the beginning of the second period. 

But the Romanian side were not the focused and composed one from the first half, and Esbjerg clawed their way back and cut the lead to only one goal, 20:21, with 17 minutes to spare.

Experience and intelligence were ultimately CSM's main ingredients for success, as a 6:2 partial between the 43rd and 49th minutes proved decisive for the outcome.

Esbjerg's mistakes were punished by Majda Mehmedovic, Simone Böhme Kristensen and Isabelle Gullden via sharp counter attacks, and the gap opened for the Romanian powerhouse to win with a comfortable eight-goal distance. 

With their second consecutive win, CSM are now fourth on the table rankings, while Esbjerg's chances to progress are very slim as the Danish side are last in the group with two points. 

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg