Back in group phase, Cisnadie want first winArticle
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WOMEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #12: Magura Cisnadie (ROU). After losing all six matches in the Women’s EHF Cup group phase last season, Cisnadie return with a new team, fortified with Romanian talents
»2019-20 Women's News

Back in group phase, Cisnadie want first win

Magura Cisnadie were not prepared to progress to last year’s Women’s EHF Cup group stage. Losing all six games was a lesson learnt the hard way.

But this season, Cisnadie are back after taking down Rocasa Gran Canaria, the Spanish champions and last season’s Challenge Cup winners, in a nail biting double-header that ended 46:46 and saw the Romanian side progress on the away-goal rule.

Three questions before the Women’s EHF Cup group phase:

- What did Cisnadie learn from last season’s grim experience?

In their first ever European season, Magura reached the EHF Cup group phase but some players left, others were injured, as the team finished last in a group with eventual finalists Team Esbjerg, Storhamar Handball Elite and SG BBM Bietigheim.

Magura scored only 115 goals in six matches and ended with the worst goal difference, -75, of all participants.

This time, the situation looks more stable. The team will have had a month’s break before the start of the group phase, with Brazil’s left back Jaqueline Anastacio the only player to have competed in the World Championship in Japan.

Magura’s veteran backbone of the team will be well rested and ready to roar, as they duly expect their first ever win in the group phase of the Women’s EHF Cup.

- How will the team’s veterans impact the side’s performance?

They say age is just a number, but Cisnadie’s key cogs are Roxana Gatzel (39), Ada Moldovan (36) and Mihaela Ani-Senocico (38). Gatzel is one of few players to be active in the Women’s EHF Champions League or the Women’s EHF Cup in three different decades – being part of Oltchim’s roster since 1997 – while both Moldovan and Ani-Senocico plied their trade at the highest level of Romanian handball for at least 20 years.

Each one of them brings something special to the team. Gatzel can dribble her way out of tough defences, while both Ani-Senocico and Moldovan bring intelligent shots from the back line, as well as superb passes for the line players or wings. But the question is if they can last for 60 minutes, if they still have the stamina to play at the highest level. The answer to this question could very well determine Cisnadie’s path this season.

- Can Magura win their first ever game in the competition?

“This is probably the competition’s most powerful group. We all know Podravka’s tradition as a former DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League winner and a team that played the first part of the season in the European top competition. Siófok are also the title-holders of this competition, while Kobenhavn is a strong Danish side,” said Magura’s captain, Roxana Gatzel.

But Cisnadie should build on their home court advantage, as the small, but raucous arena could impact the opponents. The Romanian side won both their home games in the qualification rounds, but lost by at least a four-goal margin in the two away games.

Surely, Magura look better than last season, despite being placed only eighth after 10 rounds in the Romanian domestic league. Having back-ups on each position surely helps, as well as the mix between seasoned veterans and young players who are aiming high.

Under the spotlight: Ada Moldovan

The 36-year old back scored 65 goals for Cisnadie in the Romanian League in 10 matches this season, as she is only six goals shy of the top position. She already was the top domestic scorer in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and she scored 20 of Cisnadie’s 91 goals in the qualification rounds of the Women’s EHF Cup.

A natural-born scorer, with a superb penalty efficiency, Moldovan can still be a force to be reckoned with. Her record in the Women’s EHF Cup is superb, scoring 50 goals for Dunarea Braila in the 2010/11 season and 39 goals for Cisnadie last season.


All of Cisnadie’s opponents are better on paper, as title-holders Siófok, Podravka and Kobenhavn all boast superior experience in the top European competitions. But Cisnadie can only take advantage of the situation and enjoy the competition.

Fun fact

When team captain Roxana Gatzel started playing in the Champions League for Oltchim in the 1997/98 season, Magura Cisnadie did not exist. In fact, Gatzel joined Magura in 2014, when the team was founded in the Romanian second league.

What the numbers say

Five. Cisnadie’s ‘best’ result last season in the group phase was a five-goal defeat, 28:23, against Storhamar.

Magura Cisnadie (ROU)

Qualified for Women’s EHF Cup group phase: 45:42 vs HC Galytchanka Lviv (R2); 46:46 and advancing on away goals vs Rocasa Gran Canaria (R3)

Newcomers: Jaqueline Anastasio (Maccabi Srugo), Mihaela Ani-Senocico (Universitatea Cluj-Napoca), Valentina Panici (HC Zalau), Tamara Smbatian (Energa Koszalin), Dijana Ujkic (Buducnost), Ana-Maria Tanasie (SCM Craiova)

Left the club: Deonise Fachinello (Bourg de Peage Drome Handball), Mariana Costa (CS Gloria 2018 Bistrita-Nasaud), Larissa Araujo (Universitatea Cluj-Napoca), Larissa Da Silva (unknown), Jasna Boljevici (Rapid Bucuresti)

Coach: Alexandru Weber (since August 2014)

Team captain: Roxana Gatzel

European Cup records

EHF Cup:
Group Phase (1): 2018/19

Romanian league: -
Romanian cup: -

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ew