Vardar survive Midtjylland's courageous comebackArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: HC Vardar were leading by seven goals away against FC Midtjylland, but had to be content with a two-goal win in the end.

Vardar survive Midtjylland's courageous comeback

A courageous comeback in the second half was not enough for FC Midtjylland to catch up with Vardar.

The Danish side managed to reduce a seven-goal deficit to just one goal in the second half, but that was as close as they got in the end.

  • Vardar got their fourth straight win against Midtjylland
  • Vardar had their largest lead - seven goals - twice in the match
  • Midtjylland were fighting for an equaliser twice
  • Top scorer Andrea Penezic scored seven goals for Vardar, Trine Ostergaard Jensen got five for Midtjylland

FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 26:28 (12:18)

Vardar got their fourth successive win against FC Midtjylland, and the narrowest victory against them so far.

For a long time it wasn't a close game, but nevertheless Midtjylland were looking for the equaliser on two occasions towards the end.

An aggressive defence and fast centre was enough for Midtjylland to lead 3:2 and 4:3 at the beginning, but it did not take Vardar long to take over.

With their usual playmaker Andrea Lekic on the bench, Alexandra Lacrabere starred as a left-handed playmaker. She handled this job well, and she was able to confuse the Midtjylland defence on a number of occasions.

Furthermore, by pushing Andrea Klikovac forward resulting in a 5-1 formation in the defence, Vardar made  life hard for the Midtjylland attack.

Finally, Amandine Leynaud did very well in the Vardar goal, and from being down 4:3, the visitors were completely dominating.

The 4:3 deficit changed to a 7:4 lead in a short period, and Vardar continued to increase their lead throughout the rest of the first half, helped by the sharp shooting of Andrea Penezic.

Midtjylland coach Kristian Kristensen called two timeouts in the first half alone, but those did not save his team from being six goals down at half time.

Midtjylland's courageous comeback

From the start of the second half, the Midtjylland defence finally seemed to have adjusted to Vardar playing with a left-handed playmaker.

Combined with pure willpower, Midtjylland's defensive actions became more successful. This newly won confidence also seemed to spread to the attack, where the home team became more and more successful.

Thirteen and a half minutes into the second half, Andrea Lekic finally entered the court, but she was not able to add the necessary calmness to the Vardar attack, and Midjtylland continued to reduce the gap.

However, being one goal down twice was as close as the home team got, and with a two goal win, Vardar are very close to their fourth FINAL4 in a row.

“I had not been training for 25 days due to injury, so that was why I played so little.

“We got in trouble in in the second half, as Sabine Englert improved her performance in the Midtjylland goal and their shooters had more success.

“However, we are content with taking a two-goal lead with us to our game,” said Andrea Lekic.

TEXT: Peter Bruun/kc