Next Exit – Budapest
April 10, 2016
Buducnost vs HCM Baia Mare 32:25 (13:14) First leg 29:24. Agg. 61:49
Before the Match
Coach Rosca had arrived without six of his core players at Podgorica. Allison Pineau, Paula Ungureanu, Ana-Maria Tanasie, Adriana Nechita, Gabriella Szucs and Melinda Geiger were not part of the contingent that made the long bus trip to the south of Europe.
Buducnost once again presented their best team, celebrating the departure of Majda Mehmedovic (she has joined CSM Bucuresti for the 2016/17 season) ahead of the game.
Given Baia Mare’s long injury list, in addition to recover five goals from the match a week ago, Romania’s number “two” club did well for the better part of the encounter at Moraca hall. Only in the last 20 minutes or so, Buducnost managed to pull away, settling the score at 32:25.
A depleted Baia Mare began with Gabriela Perianu as left-back, Luciana Popescu – she had to replace Allison Pineau as playmaker – and Patricia Vizitiu (righ-back). Much to the surprise of the 3,500 spectators, Baia Mare kept the home team on their toes for the entire first 30 minutes of the game. The aforementioned three players accounted for 9 of the 14 goals that Baia Mare took into half time. All the vital stats were pointing in favor of the guests.
After the break Buducnost quickly changed the rhythm of the match. Neli Irman scored the equalizer and one minute later, Christina Neagu had arranged for her team’s lead – an advantage that they would not surrender anymore. Lois Abbingh with one of her signature jump shots cut it close one last time (22:21 – 42nd minute) before Irman, Neagu and Bulatovic ran away, settling the final score at 32:27.
Player of the Match
Majda Mehmedovic – she will be missed on Buducnosts left-wing next season. In her last Champions League game at Moraca hall, she scored four outstanding goals. Especially the one’s in the 33rd and 35th minute of the match deserve mentioning – vintage Mehmedovic.
Highlight of the Match
There were many – aside from Neagu’s game high 10 goals, Mehmedovic, and Milena Raicevic showcased their scoring abilities in spectacular fashion and for Baia Mare, Lois Abbingh made sure that she will be remembered well in Romania. Two awesome jump shots from beyond the nine-meter mark, in the second half must be in close contention with Alexandra do Nascimento’s curve ball in the 39th minute of the match, to be included in the EHF’s “Top 5 Goals”.
Low Point of the Match
25th minute – Buducnost’s line player, Dragana Cvijic, went down after what looked like an unintended collision with Katarina Jezic (Baia Mare). The Serbian international had to leave the floor and stayed on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Next exit – Budapest. Coach Adzic’s crew will return to Hungary’s capital to defend their title on May 7-8. It will become their toughest assignment to date. Never before were the FINAL4 participants so evenly matched. Buducnost and Vardar – the only two teams that have not missed a FINAL4 appearance yet – will be accompanied by the dream team from Gyor and the Champions League debutant from Bucuresti when they determine the final order between Europe’s top four clubs.
Tomas Ryde – coach of Romania’s national women’s handball team – summed it up best in a Tweet over the weekend – “No surprise if Final 4 will be Vardar, Buducnost, CSM, Gyor. Best final 4 teams in history…”
Meanwhile, Baia Mare will focus on next season when the club will have to do without the helping hands of Allison Pineau and Lois Abbingh.
/ J. Schutz