The first semi-final opposing Gyor and Midtylland, was for both teams more of a training session. This is understandable in respect to Ambros Martin’s approach of the Final4. However, it does not flatter the Danes, who have shown their skills in attack but lacked aggressiveness in defence. They may have brought a great spirit to Budapest, but it was not the right one.
The game started with Gyor’s superb attacking display, Görbicz’s passes having no truble reaching Loke. Tervel and Amorim’s defence was a thing of perfection, as Thorsgaard barely touched the ball, let alone score. On the other side of the court, Groot was as reliable as ever, whereas the Jorgensens’ fluctuations were extremely costly. Defensively, Line J. was the most disappointing player, as she let in several goals on the outside. To conclude on this first match, let us emphasize Gyor’s ease at scoring in crucial moments of the game and FCM’s well organised first and second phase that might get them past Vardar in the final for the third place.
Final minute of the first semi-final
The first half of Buducnost versus Vardar reproduced the scenario of the first game. However, Vardar’s deficit was mostly the result of their chaotic, and sometimes absurdly childish, attack. The second half continued in the same manner until the final 15 minutes.
In handball, we are used to see the team that catches up during the money-time win the duel. Unless… there is an overtime. The two stars of the teams, Lekic and Neagu were caught completely out of touch, so small things decided the final ten minutes: the audacity of the three French players in Vardar, the spectators’ frentic support, Buducnost’s play in minority and … the coaches’ decisions: all in all, the Macedonians were riding high. One minute to the end, Indira Kastratovic called a timeout the second Nikolic scored the goal that would have put them in front. The goal was cancelled and Vardar missed the next attack. Buducnost’s turn! Dalby makes an attacking foul, but Dragan Adzic is there to turn the game around with a timeout. In the overtime, Neagu returns from hell to show what an extraordinary survivor she is. Two small timeouts, one big victory.
Popovic interview before the second game