BRONZE MATCH REVIEW – Vipers managed to take the bronze against Metz in a debutants duel, which remained a thriller until the very last minute.
However, the match was overshadowed by Vipers’ legendary goalkeeper having to be carried from the court with an apparently serious knee injury after only 14 minutes.
By Peter Bruun
Metz Handball vs Vipers Kristiansand 30:31 (16:15)
The match was obviously overshadowed by Katrine Lunde’s injury.
14 minutes into the match, she fell to the ground screaming, holding her knee after colliding with Metz line player Beatrice Edwige.
Lunde had to be carried from the court on a stretcher with what looked suspiciously like a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
This could mean the end of the career for one of the greatest players, women’s handball has ever seen.
Lunde’s teammates did not seem to be influenced by her accident, and her young substitute, Eline Fagerheim did a great job, as the equal game went on until Vipers managed to decide it in their own favour.
That achievement was obviously even more impressive, considering that they were missing one of their key players for 46 minutes.
Vipers got the better start, leading 4:1 and 5:2, as the Norwegian champions made a remarkable impression with the way they opened the semi-final.
Metz soon came into the game, though, partly thanks to a good performance by Ivana Kapitanovic who replaced Laura Glauser in goal from the beginning.
Through four goals in a row, Metz changed a 6:4 deficit into the 8:6 they had as Lunde had to be carried from the court.
The incident did not seem to influence her teammates mentally, though. Vipers soon caught up at 8:8, and they even managed to lead once more at 13:12.
Of course, Eline Fagerheim does not possess the experience of 39-year-old Lunde, but the 20-year-old actually did fine and performed a couple of saves, while the Metz players also showed her the courtesy of hitting the woodwork a few times.
The game remained on a knife’s edge for the rest of the half, which Metz won by the single goal, which separated the teams all the way from 8:8.
Young Fagerheim continued with her unimpressed attitude, and she had success with that.
Among her saves was a penalty from Meline Nocandy, before she denied a free Laura Flippes.
She could not stop Metz from opening the second half by taking a three-goal lead at 18:15 and maintain it until 23:20.
Vipers caught up again, though, as Linn Jørum Sulland equalised making it 23:23 from a penalty, and it was also her who gave Vipers the lead back at 25:24.
Metz tried a 3-2-1 defence, which helped them to come back and went up 29:27.
However, they only did so to see Vipers score the next four goals, and the last Metz goal came too late to change anything.