Siofok, Hernink-Ikast, Podravka book early quarter-final tickets
Three teams had a chance to secure their spots in the Women’s EHF Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, and all of them reached their goal.
In Group B, Siofok and Herning-Ikast are already through, while in Group D, Podravka also progressed to the next round.
- Siofok and Podravka kept their perfect records in the Group Phase
- Larvik claimed their first point in the competition
- Magura Cisnadie, Metzingen and Savehof missed chances of progressing
- Nykobing’s Anna Lagerquist scored 11 goals against Bera Bera
Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR) vs Sports Club Magura Cisnadie (ROU) 28:23 (11:8)
Following their second straight win against Magura Cisnadie, Storhamar kept hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive. Now the Norwegian team are level with the group leaders Esbjerg and have one point more that Bietigheim – however, Storhamar’s two rivals will meet on Sunday.
In contrast, Magura have lost even the slightest chance to go through. The Romanian side suffered their fourth straight defeat, yet they showed some kind of progress.
Jasna Boljevic and Ada Emilia Moldovan became the game’s joint top scorers with eight goals. But like in the previous games, Magura’s leaders did not get enough support from teammates – the visitors had just ten players in the roster, and only five of them put their names on the scoresheet.
With 11 players available, Storhamar also lacked squad depth, yet their team performance was better, which allowed the home side to dominate throughout the match and ultimately snatch two points.
IK Savehof (DEN) vs Siofok KC Hungary (HUN) 24:30 (13:14)
It was a meeting of polar opposites, as Siofok had enjoyed a perfect record in the previous matches, while Savehof sat bottom of Group B with zero points.
So the Hungarian side’s victory looks completely logical, and it allowed them to secure a spot in the next round.
Savehof, on the other hand, have no more chance to go through, as the Swedish team lost their tenth European game in a row this season, including games in the Women’s EHF Champions League.
However, they should be credited for a decent game this time. Early in the second half, Savehof even were in front 18:17, but could not keep it going. Yet even in the 52th minute, the teams were still separated by one goal as Siofok led 23:22.
Olivia Mellegard had a chance to draw level, but missed her shot before Siofok’s top scorer Andrea Kobetic scored twice to make it 25:22. The Croatian ended up with ten goals in that match, and her team was more clinical in the closing minutes, winning by six goals.
Savehof coach Rasmus Overby remained positive despite defeat, "I would say that we took a big step in the right direction today. Many of our players took initiative, which is positive. Siofok is a very good team and I am satisfied that we could keep up with (them) for about 52 minutes."
TusSies Metzingen (GER) vs Herning-Ikast Handbold (DEN) 25:28 (10:16)
Both quarter-finalists from Group B are already known – as not only Siofok, but Herning-Ikast have already secured a spot in the next round.
Metzingen can still reach the Danish team in terms of points, yet Herning-Ikast have an advantage on head-to-head meetings, as they won both their direct duels.
On Saturday, the visitors showed their strong commitment early in the match, taking a 5:1 lead. Metzingen woke up and cut the deficit to 9:8, yet Herning-Ikast had a high shot efficiency, reaching 84% in the first half. In particular, Tonje Loseth did well, scoring six times before the break.
Early in the second half, the visitors increased their lead to seven goals, yet Metzingen refused to give up. In the nervy closing minutes, the home side revived their hopes, closing the score from 27:22 to 27:25, but then Helene Fauske’s powerful shot sealed Herning-Ikast’s victory.
Herning-Ikast's winning coach, Kristian Boldrup Kristensen saw his side overcome factors both on and off the court, "We had a really good beginning and we know that the 'tussies' can play very quick handball. It was an amazing atmosphere with high pressure from the audience. Fortunately in the end we had enough goals to give them."
Larvik HK vs E.S.Besancon Feminin (FRA) 29:26 (15:12)
With a victory Besancon could have gone level on points with second-placed Kuban. Yet the duel of Group C outsiders went in favour of Larvik, who ended their three-game losing run in the Group Phase and took revenge on the French team for the 32:25 defeat in the previous week.
It was a good day for the Norwegian teams in the Women’s EHF Cup, as Larvik followed Storhamar’s example. Emilie Christensen was their top scorer with six goals, while Chloe Bouquet netted just as many for Besancon.
The home side took an early control of the game, and they merited their three-goal lead at half-time. Although Besancon did not give up and reduced the gap to 25:24 late in the game, Larvik weathered the storm to claim their first points in the competition.
HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs SCM Craiova (ROU) 23:18 (13:9)
Similar to Siofok in Group B, Podravka have a perfect record after four matches, and it allowed the Croatian champions to secure a quarter-final ticket with two rounds to go.
Just like a week ago, Podravka defeated Romania’s Craiova, this time by a five-goal margin. The current title holders suffered their third straight defeat and sit bottom of Group D with two points, yet they still have a chance to go through.
Both side were not very effective in attack, but Podravka had the upper hand. Natalia Chigirinova and Ana Debelic were their best scorers with five goals each, and their impact helped the home side to pull clear from the opening minutes.
Podravka led by four goals at half-time and extended their lead to 16:10 early in the second half. Debelic, who got a red card following three two-minute suspensions, could not play until the final buzzer, yet it did not stop the Croatian team from clinching a victory.
"First of all I want to congratulate the home team. They wanted victory more and they deserve it. More than half the goals we got on fast break, then it is very difficult to win in these conditions" said SCM's Dumitrescu Costin.
Super Amara Bera Bera (ESP) vs Nykobing Falster Handbold-NFH (DEN) 28:36 (17:20)
A close battle was expected for the second quarter-final spot in Group D, but now Nykobing are in the driver’s seat. The Danish side had started the Group Phase with two defeats, but bounced back to beat Bera Bera twice.
Having scored 36 goals, NFH equaled their record in the European club competitions. Anna Lagerquist had a special contribution to that tally, netting an impressive 11 goals and ending up as the game’s top scorer.
A week before, at home, Nykobing needed some luck to turn the game around in the last 15 minutes. But away in Spain, the Danish team won more easily.
Bera Bera made a slow start and were behind 13:6 midway through the first half, and although they woke up and almost drew level at 14:13, Nykobing led by three goals at the break, and only increased the gap in the second half.Author: Sergey Nikolaev/at