Last season’s finalists Gyor made a big step towards at least emulating their 2012 achievement with a hard-fought win at Romanians Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea in Bucharest on Saturday. It was 24-22 (14-10) after an heroic fightback from a seven-goal deficit fell short of stopping the Hungarian side from stretching their perfect run to 13 straight wins, ehfcl.com reports. The much anticipated clash between two teams billed by many pundits as the finest in Europe lived up to expectations as Gyor survived a late Oltchim onslaught after dominating proceedings in the opening half, when they led by as many as seven goals.
“We had some good moments but we paid the price for making a very slow start,” Bulatovic told ehftv.com after the strength-sapping encounter. “It’s not a good result but we will not give up and have every intention of trying to overturn this deficit in Hungary because we are not out of it yet. We improved in the second half here but it wasn’t enough after making it difficult for ourselves early on,” she added.
A defiant Bulatovic led Oltchim’s charge with eight goals and middle back Anita Gorbicz scored as many at other end, although a bulk of her tally came from the seven-metre penalty line. The outstanding Amorim added six for Gyor, who will head into the second leg as firm favourites to reach the final although Oltchim will certainly have something to say about that in the second leg on Thursday in Veszprém.
In the other semifinal, Larvik (Nor) – Krim Mercator (Slo) ended 22-24 (9-16). Not even the most optimistic Krim fans could have hoped for the dream start their team made against Larvik, romping away to a 6:0 lead in the opening 10 minutes against the more fancied home side boasting a stack of trophy-laden Norwegian internationals.
Croatian left back Andrea Penezic bagged in four goals and right wing Tamara Mavsar chipped in with three for a well-balanced Krim outfit, who could have won by a bigger margin but missed three seven-metre penalty shots. Anja Edin and Riegelhuth added four goals each for Larvik.