Metz too strong for Rostov-Don; Kobenhavn claim important winArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: Rostov-Don and Metz battled for the top spot, and the French champions came out on top, while Kobenhavn claimed a confident home victory against Buducnost
»2018-19 Women's News
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Metz too strong for Rostov-Don; Kobenhavn claim important win

Rostov-Don and Metz had both already qualified for the Women's EHF Champions League Quarter-finals, but they faced each other for the top spot at the end of the round in Group 1, and the French champions had the upper hand, winning 26:18 away from home.

Earlier on Saturday, Kobenhavn and Buducnost met in Denmark. Buducnost had already booked a ticket to the next round, while Kobenhavn were still locked in a huge battle for the final quarter-final berth. Earlier this year, Buducnost had beaten Kobenhavn in Podgorica (29:27), but the Danish team convincingly took revenge, winning 31:20.

  • Metz have won six matches in a row in the Champions League
  • Xenia Smits scored six goals for Metz; Lois Abbingh and Viktoriya Borshchenko netted five times each for Rostov-Don
  • Buducnost remain in third place with ten points; Kobenhavn now have six points
  • Kobenhavn’s Linn Blohm was the top scorer in the match with seven goals


Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 18:26 (12:13)

In the reverse fixture, Metz had beaten Rostov-Don in France (29:25), so the Russian side were now seeking revenge in a huge Group 1 clash. But Metz were able to resist the Russian side’s challenge and won even more comfortably away from home.

Rostov-Don enjoyed the better start to the game, taking a 4:2 lead before the visitors seized the initiative. Thanks to their solid defence and fast counter attacks, Metz enjoyed an 8:2 run in the next ten minutes and pulled ahead to lead 10:6.

Without the injured trio of Anna Vyakhireva, Polina Kuznetsova and Iuliia Managarova, the home side lacked power in attack. However, Lois Abbingh and Viktoriya Borshchenko made their impact, and even the goalkeeper Mayssa Pessoa managed to score, allowing Rostov to reduce the deficit to one goal at the break (12:13).

However, early in the second half, Rostov’s problems became more visible as they scored just once in 11 minutes, which allowed Metz to gain a five-goal advantage (18:13). The French side were significantly more efficient in attack, with Xenia Smits finishing the game as the top scorer with six goals. On the other hand, Metz goalkeeper Laura Glauser had a great match, helping her team with multiple saves.

Towards the end of the match, Metz did not concede for nine minutes and extended their lead to 26:17 before Abbingh scored the last goal of the game 15 seconds from the buzzer.

Defeated coach Ambros Martin was disappointed with the result but praised Metz’s quality. He said: "Congratulations to our opponent; it was a good game. We played well first 15 minutes at first half, then we lost concentration. We will work harder. In the second half Metz showed that they can be not only in final four – maybe they deserve more.”

Kobenhavn Handball (DEN) vs Buducnost (MNE) 31:20 (16:9)

On home court, Kobenhavn were dominant against Buducnost, who were without their top scorer Djurdjina Jaukovic through injury. Buducnost sorely missed Jaukovic, and they also lost another key player, Milena Raicevic, through injury in the first half.

The score was 4:4 in the 8th minute before the home side started to pull ahead. The Swedish line player Linn Blohm had a good impact, netting five times before the break.

For Buducnost, the experienced right back Katarina Bulatovic tried to lead by example, yet her effort was not enough. Between the 20th and the 29th minute, the Montenegrin team failed to score a single goal, which allowed Kobenhavn to build a solid seven-goal advantage at half-time.

Itana Grbic’s impact helped Buducnost reduce the gap to 19:15, but the Danish side had an impressive 9:0 run during the next 11 minutes and extended the lead to 13 goals (28:15).

All questions about the outcome were clearly removed, and Kobenhavn went on to celebrate an important and convincing victory.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / jw