Four teams through to the quarter-final
With one match day left, the teams progressing to the next round from Groups A and B are already known, while in the two other groups nothing is decided.
In Group A, Randers and Nantes have secured their quarter-final spots
Nantes did it despite surprising home defeat against group outsider VfL Oldenburg who claimed their first points in the competition
In Group B, Kuban sealed their place in the next round thanks to the victory against Alba Fehervar
This result was good news for Brest who will play on Sunday but already are unable to drop below second place
In Togliatti, NFH suffered their first defeat in the EHF Cup Group Phase
Randers HK (DEN) vs IK Sävehof (SWE) 28:24 (14:10)
For the second time in the competition, Randers won the Scandinavian derby against IK Sävehof, and it was enough for the Danish side to secure a berth in the Women’s EHF Cup quarter-final.
Before the match, the hosts were just one point ahead of their opponents, so it was a crucial game for both teams. After the result, the third-placed IK Sävehof lost their chance to progress from the group.
Randers enjoyed a strong start and led by four goals (6:2) after 10 minutes. The visitors never seemed to find an answer to Randers’ play.
The Danish team were in the 14:10 lead at half time, and this balance of powers was more or less maintained throughout the second half. Ultimately, Randers clinched their third win in the group.
Nantes Loire Atlantique HB (FRA) vs VfL Oldenburg (GER) 28:29 (13:11)
The result of this match seemed obvious, as the Group A leader played at home against the last place team who had not obtained any points in the four previous matches.
However, Oldenburg surprised everyone by beating Nantes in France. The entire game was back and forth, with both team having good and bad spells. Kelly Dulfer’s shot ten seconds from full-time brought two points to the visitors.
Inger Smits was another hero of the day as she finished the game as Oldenburg’s top scorer with ten goals.
Despite the loss, Nantes advance to the quarter-final thanks to Randers beating Sävehof in their game. This win was just a matter of honour for Oldenburg as they have no chance to qualify for the next round.
Alba Fehervar KC (HUN) vs Kuban (RUS) 24:31 (11:11)
Following a win in Hungary, Kuban are certain of their place in the next round of the competition. Against Alba Fehervar, the Russian team struggled before the break and early in the second half, but seized initiative towards the end of the game to claim two points.
For the team coached by Evgeni Trefilov, this was the fourth victory in five group matches. Alba Fehervar may consider themselves unfortunate- just like in the two previous matches against Brest, they were in lead for much of the game, but let the victory slip from their hands.
The Hungarian side have no chance to progress- they may still equal Brest on points, but even in this case they will finish behind the French rivals due to scoring fewer away goals.
Byasen Trondheim (NOR) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) 23:28 (12:16)
Nothing is clear in Group C after Bietigheim’s victory in Trondheim. The Bundesliga leader had been defeated in three straight group games prior to their voyage to Norway and may have lost their hopes to advance from the group in the case of another setback. However, just like their first meeting in Germany, they managed to snatch two points against Byasen.
Following the tight opening minutes, Bietigheim began to dominate, which was reflected in the score. 16:12 at half time felt quite comfortable for the visitors, and they continued in the same way after the break.
On Sunday, Rostov play in Érd in this group. Through this match the Russian team has a fair chance to become the first quarter-finalist from this competitive quartet.
Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs NFH- Nykøbing Falster Handboldklub (DEN) 35:32 (17:17)
A home defeat would have denied Lada any chance to go through to the quarter-final. However, the Russian team played a good game and got revenge for the frustrating loss in the opening round of the group phase in Denmark (35:23).
It was an extremely close game from the opening minutes. Lada took the lead 2:0. But then the hosts struggled against NFH’s tight defense, and the Danish side seized the initiative. At some points, they were 3 goals up (10:7), yet Lada soon came back, and the first half ended in a 17:17 draw.
The battle was close in the second half, too, yet after the 45th minute Lada turned the score 23:23 into 26:23, and went on to keep the victory in their hands.
Now Lada and NFH are on six points- as many as TuS Metzingen. Everything in Group D will be decided next week.
Levon Akopyan, head coach of Lada, had mixed feelings about his players performance: "Our players were a little bit nervous because it was a crucial match today. This is why we had to play at our maximum level. Not all the players were good enough, but I have no pretension to our players’ commitment."
TuS Metzingen (GER) vs Glassverket (NOR) 39:17 (19:8)
On Friday night, last season’s EHF Cup finalists TuS Metzingen kept their hopes alive to reach the quarter-finals with a convincing 39:17 win against Glassverket.
Following Handball Club Lada’s 35:32 win against NFH - Nykøbing Falster Håndboldklub on Saturday, the three teams have six points on their account and Metzingen have an important match ahead of them when they play away against NFH next Sunday.
Friday’s game against Glassverket was already decided at the break when Metzingen led 19:8.
Glassverket scored the first goal of the game, but the German side responded with 10 unanswered goals and their Norwegian lacked the means to bounce back after this shock.
In the second half, Metzingen kept punishing their opponents’ mistakes and goal by goal they extended their lead to eventually cruise to victory.
Top scorers for Metzingen were Melanie Zapf with six goals as well as Delaila Amega, Annika Ingenpaß, Tonje Loseth and Kelly Vollebregt with four goals each. Emilie Christensen scored four times for Glassverket.
Author: Sergey Nikolaev/kc