Title holders get back on track
Les Neptunes de Nantes became the first team to clinch 10 wins in the history of the EHF European League Women, after beating CS Minaur Baia Mare, 34:29, in a rematch of their crunch semi-finals last season, which the French side also won.
- Nantes extended their winning streak to two games and are now second in the standings, with four points, while have Baia Mare lost their past two games and dropp to third
- the Romanian side have now lost three of their last four away games played in the EHF European League Women, winning only against Romanian opponent HC Dunarea Braila in last year’s quarter-finals
- 31-year-old Serbian right back Jelena Lavko was superb for Baia Mare, scoring 11 times – her best ever European outing in 12 seasons
- Swedish right wing Nathalie Hagman, the top goal scorer of the IHF Women’s World Championship in December 2021, was the best scorer for Nantes, also scoring 11 times
- Baia Mare will host Nantes once again on 6 February in a pivotal game for the future of the two sides in the competition, as another loss for the Romanian team will virtually eliminate them
Nantes leave no chance for Baia Mare
One week ago, Baia Mare recorded their worst-ever loss in the history of their participations in European competitions, a 19-goal drubbing at the hands of Bietigheim. They improved a bit this time around, but not enough, as influential centre back Cristina Laslo was once again limited to only four goals from 11 shots. It is the lack of depth and experience which make Baia Mare a sure-fire victim in away games, as tougher opponents find it easy to take advantage of their defensive woes. With an average of conceded goals of 35 goals per game, the Romanian side has the worst defensive record in the competition at this point.
On the other hand, Nantes suffered in the first half, but their Swedish connection of Hagman and back Carin Stromberg worked beautifully, scoring 16 goals between them. Another win in two weeks in Baia Mare would be crucial for Nantes, who just secured their 10th win in history in the EHF European League Women.
Raul Fotonea, Baia Mare coach:
“We made some technical mistakes at the beginning of the second half and also some one-against-one misses. This was the result, we lost the game at the beginning of the second half. After that we tried very hard to come back in the game. We'll try in the next game at home to recover this. The girls made the great effort to play against Nantes because they play very good handball with very good speed and they are very good team and I must congratulate them for today’s game.
Guillaume Saurina, Nantes coach:
“We knew that they would put a lot of intensity and physical power in this game and that's what happened. Regarding the second half we just said to the girls that we have to be more focused and more clever in defence because we watched the video and we saw that they make things, of course we cannot stop everything, but there are some specific things.
“We have to be focused and ready on it and we were not so ready in the first half. So we put some more physical power at the start of the second half where we could get some stops and rebounds. We scored on the first play so on the speed and on the fast break so it was a good start of second half.”