Gyor are ready for the Women´s Champions League final after defeating ruling champions Buducnost 21:20 in the first semi-final in Budapest. Buducnost missed out on two opportunities to score the equalizer in the last minute.
By Peter Bruun
Buducnost vs Gyor Audi ETO KC 20:21 (8:11)
Before the Match
The Women´s Champions League winners of the last four years met in this first semi-final in Budapest. While Buducnost won the tournament in 2012 and last year, Gyor took the title two years in a row, in 2013 and 2014.
For Gyor, it was a comeback to the FINAL4 after not getting any further than the quarter-final last season. The two clubs had recent knowledge of each other, as they already met twice in the Champions League this season – in Group 2 of the main round. Gyor won 22:20 at home, while Buducnost took the victory 25:22, in Podgorica.
The team from Montenegro had qualified for the FINAL4 by beating Romanian HCM Baia Mare 29:24 away and 32:25 at home, while Gyor had thrashed their eternal rivals – FTC – 31:18 and 40:23.
Eduarda Amorim´s goal, making it 21:19 with two minutes and 32 seconds left turned out to be decisive in the first semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
Milena Raicevic reduced the deficit for Buducnost in a hurry, who even had two opportunities in the last minute to achieve extra time, but both chances were missed. Gyor turned out to be that bit stronger tactically and mentally which justified their narrow win. Maybe Buducnost’s coach Dragan Adzic could have changed the game by using more players than he did, but it would not have been Dragan Adzic, if he would have done so, or would it?
Both teams had a nervous start, as it is so often the case in matches of such significance. Buducnost´s defense was just as physical and offensive minded as usual, but the Montenegrins attack was far from being as effective. The logical consequence: a low scoring affair in the first half, especially in the opening minutes.
It took Buducnost a good five minutes to score the first goal of the match through Katarina Bulatovic, while Gyor needed almost seven minutes to get on the board, as Heidi Løke successfully finished off a counter attack.
It was another goal from Løke, that gave Gyor their first lead at 5:4, way past the middle of the first half but it was the start to a benign Hungarian dominance until the break. With Anita Görbicz putting her skills on display as left-wing, the Hungarian “home team” managed to get three goals ahead (10:7).
Buducnost came back from the locker room like a thunder storm, and it only took them three minutes to not only catch up with Gyor´s three goal advantage, but also to get ahead 12:11.
Soon thereafter, Buducnost even got a golden opportunity to create a possibly decisive distance, while playing six-against-four for a minute and 43 seconds. However, Gyor did not only “survive” this period. They even won it 1:0, courtesy of another goal by Løke – her fourth – making it 14:13 for Gyor.
Gyor came back and managed to take another three-goal lead at 17:14, but they were not able to increase the advantage any further.
Instead, the score changed constantly between a one- and a two-goal edge for Gyor, and as the inevitable consequence, we got a nail-biting thriller at the end.
With two plus minutes left on the clock, Amorim gave her team another two-goal lead (21:19). 30 seconds later, Milena Raicevic reduced for Buducnost, and a save from Marta Zderic had handed the ball back to the squad from Podgorica with one minute left. Another 36 seconds to go, Radmilla Petrovic missed from right wing, unfortunately for the coach Adzic’s crew.
Still, Buducnost could get a hold of the ball once more with another chance to achieve extra time. Dragan Adzic called for timeout with eight seconds left, but just as the game resumed, Buducnost threw the ball away, and Gyor and their many fans in the arena could celebrate their entry into the final.
The Champions League final is waiting for Gyor and the result allows a certain hope for a full house on Sunday evening at the Papp Laszlo sports complex.
Buducnost have to face the fact, that they still have not managed to win the Champions League two years in succession. Coach Adzic is likely to have some work ahead of him, motivating his players for the “bronze medal” match on Sunday afternoon.