Metz extend winning streak with a comeback
A strong second-half performance secured Metz's ninth consecutive win in the EHF Champions League Women 2023/23 season. Storhamar were off to a good start buoyed by Eli Marie Raasok's performance between the posts and were in the lead until the 40th minute of the game. Experience and strength by the French side came to light in the crunch times overcoming the five-goal deficit at half-time, the third biggest comeback in the competition's history.
While Metz wait in the quarter-finals as Group B leaders, Storhamar will try to secure the same in the play-offs against Odense Håndbold.
Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 24:26 (16:11)
- a dream start for the home team - Storhamar propelled to a 5:0 leaving group leaders without a goal for seven minutes
- Eli Marie Raasok's nine saves at half-time and a strong Storhamar defence were giving trouble to Metz's attack who was only at 46% attack efficiency in the first 30 minutes
- the French side stepped up a gear in the closing minutes of the first-half narrowing the gap, and remained on the same course in the second half and with an 8:1 goal run took over the lead
- Storhamar's attack efficiency dropped from 59% to 29%, while Metz bounced back to a 60% attack efficiency
- Hatadou Sako joined Eli Marie Raasok with her assortment of saves helping Metz stay in front until the end of the match, even though Guro Nestaker brought Storhamar close to a draw on two occasions
Metz remain unbeaten for nine rounds straight, slipping only against Team Esbjerg in round 5 and drawing with Rapid Bucuresti in round 2. Emannuel Mayonnade's team are the powerhouse of the competition, securing first place in the group and a quarter-final spot ahead of the last round. With an ability to play without pressure, Metz entered the game on a slow foot but their true strength come to light in the second half. When Metz set a strong defence and produce easy goals from good transition, nothing can stop them.
Storhamar's top performance was not enough to produce a surprise of the round but the competition's debutant have a solid ground to build on ahead of the play-offs clash against Odense Håndbold. They have overcome their lack of experience and with Scandinavian touch reached their first-ever knock-out stage in the EHF Champions League.
I had a bad feeling during training with the team this week. I tried to explain how good Storhamar is to the players, but I failed to prepare them mentally for the start of the game. I am not surprised by the quality, but I am happy that we got the two points in the end.
We are super happy with the first half. Great goalkeeping from Eli, we had a lot of fast breaks. Just overall a good game, though we had a bad period in the second half that cost us the points. Still, we are taking steps and we’ll never stop fighting.