Fortunate finish moves CSM one step closer to FINAL4
April 7, 2017
MATCH REVIEW – What looked to be an equal affair for quite some time turned into a rather reassuring five-goal victory for CSM Buduresti, courtesy of several mistakes by Ferencvaros towards the end of the match.
By Peter Bruun
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) 30:25 (17:15)
Before the Match
While CSM are ruling Champions League winners, FTC – better known as Ferencvaros – achieved their best results in the competition in 1997 and 2001, reaching the semi-finals on both occasions.
CSM entered the game from third place in their main round – one position better than last season – while Ferencvaros were second in their group after losing the group win to Vardar on last match day.
Neither team had a psychological edge based on previous matches. The clash in Bucarest was the first encounter between the two sides ever in a competitive match.
CSM were still missing right-back Line Jørgensen and right-wing Cristina Varzaru due to injury. A particularly interesting aspect of the match was how CSM´s new, Swedish coach, Per Johansson, would do not having coached a team for five years.
Per Johansson passed his first test.
A five-goal win at home against Ferencvaros is not only acceptable. It also allows Johansson and his squad to clinch FINAL4 berth when they visit Budapest, next Saturday.
Several Ferencvaros mistakes towards the end of the fight helped the ruling champions to establish a comfortable advantage.
The match started at a high pace, and was dominated by both offensive lines and poor defending, generally speaking.
Central defense, in particular, was shaky and this was reflected on the scoreboard. In the opening minutes, the score was changing between a stand-off and a one goal lead for Ferencvaros.
It became obvious that the team that would get their defense working first, would have the upper hand, but it did not happen.
Still, CSM was able to take the initiative after 10 minutes. It was not so much that CSM defense had improved significantly, but Paula Ungureanu began performing despite not getting much help from the players in front of her.
The same could not be said about Blanka Bíro in goal of Ferencvaros.
The young goalkeeper has been one of the rising stars this season, but in this first half, she could not get her hands on the ball at all and was soon replaced by Melinda Szikora who did not do much better.
Ungureanu´s work was made easier when Ferencvaros made some hasty shots, while the number of technical mistakes on their part didn’t help either.
After Isabelle Gulldén had given CSM their first lead at 8:7 in the 12th minute, the rest of the first half belonged to the home team.
Slowly, CSM’s defense began to function, and the hosts appeared to be on their way to decide the tie already in this first match, as they got up 16:11 with seven minutes left.
Eventually, Ferencvaros got their defense working as well and on the opposite side of the pitch, Aniko Kovacsics had her shots under control, scoring no less than eight goals on eight attempt, in the first half alone.
Her scoring allowed the visitors to reduce the gap to only two goals before the buzzer.
With a dynamic and vivacious Johansson on the sideline and Isabelle Gulldén being everywhere in the attack, CSM maintained their advantage.
However, for most of the second half, Ferencvaros were able to keep Bucuresti on a “short leash”, trailing never more than by two or three goals.
As the match progressed, the 6-0 defense systems of both teams improved considerably, making life harder for the attack.
The game continued to be equal with CSM a couple of goals up, until the very last minutes.
A two-goal defeat on the road would have been a result, Ferencvaros could have lived with, but they squandered a better opportunity for the second leg match.
Two missed shots and two technical mistakes from the visitors within the last three and half minutes changed everything and may very well have decided this quarter-final already before the second match in the Hungarian capital, next week.
CSM said, “thank you very much”, accepted the gifts, and scored the last three goals of the match.
Player of the Match
While Kovacsics could not keep up her outstanding performance in the second half – she still reached a total of 11 goals on 13 attempts – Isabelle Gulldén was stronger and more consistent in CSM’s attack, throughout the 60 minutes.
Not only did she score 10 goals on 13 shots. She also executed Bucuresti’s game plan extremely well most of the time, while providing numerous assists.
In sum, this makes the 27-year-old Swedish international my Player of the Match.
Of course, nothing is decided yet, but it will be very difficult for Ferencvaros to catch up with this five-goal deficit.
The days, when a team could easily recover, even a 10 or 12 goal disadvantage, in a home game, are long gone, and CSM are the clear favorites to reach their second consecutive FINAL4.
These last four minutes in the Romanian capital, on Friday night, may have cost Ferencvaros everything.