Clinical Metz see off CSM in styleArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: CSM’s injury woes prevented the Romanian side from clinching a win against Metz as the French side ran out five-goal winners
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Clinical Metz see off CSM in style

It was no easy task, but Metz stood firm and withstood CSM’s challenge to take an important win in the first leg of a fiery quarter-final, 31:26.

The Romanian side never took the lead and were on the back foot from the beginning, with the French outfit now holding the cards as they strive to reach their first DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL 4.

  • Andrea Lekic and Jovanka Radicevic combined for 19 goals, but failed to stop Metz
  • Xenia Smits was Metz’s top scorer with six goals
  • CSM progressed in each of the past three seasons to the final act in Budapest
  • The second leg will be played on Metz’s court next Saturday

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 26:31 (11:14)

There were layers upon layers of intrigue before throw-off in the game between the two sides, with Metz trying to avenge their quarter-final elimination against CSM last season, while the Romanian side hoped to overcome the flurry of injuries that hit them this season.

Defence was the word muttered by all CSM players and their coach, Dragan Djukic, and the gameplan was clear: try to prevent Metz, the second best attack in the competition, from scoring at ease.

But the plan did not work at all. CSM needed seven minutes to score their first goal, while Metz took advantage of their errors in attack and were deadly on the fast breaks, to jump to a comfortable 5:0 lead.

However, even with a dry spell from CSM’s backs, who went two for seven in the first 15 minutes, the Romanian side managed to mount a comeback, preventing Metz from scoring for eight minutes, to tie the game, 6:6, after a 5:0 run of their own.

It was a well-taken time-out by Metz’s coach, Emmanuel Mayonnade, who restarted the clustered French offense as backs Orleane Kanor and Xenia Smits proved to be unstoppable.

On the other hand, CSM relied solely upon Jovanka Radicevic’s cold blood, as her six goals managed to prevent Metz from claiming a more healthy lead than the 14:11 advantage they boasted at the break.

It was another strong start for Metz which seemed to serve as the propeller for the French win.

As CSM’s woes in attack continued to mount, the French side jumped to their biggest lead in the game, 19:13, a lead that looked unassailable.

The Romanian side missed chance after chance to reduce the gap to only one goal, through several missed chances from Barbara Lazovic and Elizabeth Omoregie.

A clinical finish saw Metz take an impressive win, dealing CSM their first home loss in the Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-finals, 31:26.

"Of course we are very happy we won this evening but we know the most difficult is yet to come, we have to do a better second match in Metz.

"We have the example of last year when we lost with 13 goals here and we were very close to a surprise on our home court. So we know very well that everything is possible but what is certain is that we are going to keep working to improve on today's mistakes. We want to qualify at home," said Metz line player Beatrice Edwige.

Metz are now huge favourites to clinch their first berth for the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL 4, with the second leg to be played on Saturday 13 April in France.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cor