Fast start lifts Esbjerg past Podravka
Boasting only 11 players on the team sheet due to a slew of injuries, Team Esbjerg withstood a fightback in the second half from HC Podravka Vegeta to claim a 27:26 victory in group A of the DELO EHF Champions League.
- with Podravka needing eight minutes and 23 seconds to score their first goal, Esbjerg jumped to an 8:3 lead after 15 minutes
- missing their two best scorers, Henny Reistad and Mette Tranborg, who combined for 39 goals in the first four rounds, Esbjerg still stood their ground
- Norwegian back Kristine Breistøl, the game’s top scorer with eight goals, had her best outing since the 2015/16 season, when she scored 13 goals in a game for Larvik HK
- with three wins, one draw and one loss, this is Esbjerg’s best start to a DELO EHF Champions League season
- Esbjerg, who boast a 44.4 per cent win efficiency, became the 26th side to win at least 20 games in Europe's top competition
A tale of two halves for Esbjerg
Esbjerg had only nine court players due to a slew of injuries, but they still snatched a win against Podravka, who extended their losing streak to four games.
Esbjerg goalkeeper Rikke Poulsen saved nine shots in the first half – but Esbjerg’s goalkeepers did not save a single shot in the second half. Although the Danish side's lack of depth could have been their undoing, the advantage from the first half was enough to help them seal a one-goal win.
We are satisfied because we won – but we are not completely satisfied with our second half. I am proud of my team but also glad to see in the second half that Podravka really put on a fight and showed what are they capable of.
At the beginning we had some problems in the defence and we didn't score some shots in attack, but in the second half we gave everything for ourselves. I hope that in the future games we can get some points.