Viborg go through; Esbjerg win at Bietigheim
Just like a week ago, all four Danish teams won their matches in Round 4 of the Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase – and two of them did it on Sunday. A hard-fought win against Kuban (26:25) saw Viborg book a quarter-final ticket, while Esbjerg took a further step towards the same direction by defeating Bietigheim in Germany, 32:27.
- Esbjerg stay unbeaten and top Group A
- Viborg maintained a perfect record in the competition
- Kuban remain second in Group C, two points ahead of Besancon and Larvik
SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN) 27:32 (13:16)
Esbjerg claimed two points against Bietigheim in Germany to take a big step towards booking a quarter-final place. The Danish side are now top of Group A with seven points – two more than Storhamar and three more than Bietigheim.
Esbjerg have an excellent chance to seal their progression to the quarter-final stage in Round 5 against outsiders Magura Cisnadie, while Bietigheim will face strong opposition from Storhamar in a crucial game.
The first quarter of the match in Ludwigsburg saw a close battle, and it was 7:7 in the 15th minute, but Esbjerg then had an impressive run, creating a five-goal lead (14:9) ten minutes later. The home side lacked efficiency in attack – and they missed even two penalty shots during that period.
However, Bietigheim, who preferred to play with an extra attacking player, improved before the break and reduced the distance to just three goals, 16:13.
Throughout the second half, the Danish team generally maintained that advantage, but Bietigheim remained competitive in the game. The contest was still open when Esbjerg led by two goals, 28:26, in the 54th minute, but the outcome became clear when they extended their lead to 30:26 in the next three minutes.
Viborg HK (DEN) vs Kuban (RUS) 26:25 (15:13)
While just a draw would have been enough to secure Viborg’s progression to the quarter-final stage, the victory against Kuban means that Viborg are now certain to finish top of Group C. In Viborg, Kuban fought harder than a week ago on home court, but a late comeback allowed the home side to grab two points.
The visitors had a good start, but Viborg then fought back and built a two-goal advantage at the end of the first half (15:13).
For much of the second half, Kuban were the better team, and the change to a 5-1 defence seemed to be a good remedy against Viborg’s attack, with the Russian side leading 25:23 in the 52nd minute.
However, as Kuban were unable to score a goal during the final eight minutes, the hosts capitalised and drew level. Ann Grete Norgaard then scored her seventh goal of the game for Viborg, which proved to be the decisive goal. Diana Golub and Yaroslava Frolova finished the game with eight goals each for Kuban.