Sandra Toft saves Györ's day against Brest Bretagne
Team Esbjerg was the only home side on Sunday to celebrate in Round 1 of the EHF Champions League Women, leaving Rapid Bucuresti disappointed. Sandra Toft's last-second save secured Györi Audi ETO KC's narrow win against Brest Bretagne Handball in France. SG BBM Bietigheim imposed their rhythm in the second half, getting their hands on a 27:22 win against the Montenegrin side.
- for the third time in their EHF Champions League history, SG BBM Bietigheim started the group phase with a win, beating WHC Buducnost BEMAX after Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc's seven-goal outing with another seven assists
- this is Milena Raicevic's 17th season in the top-tier competition; five goals against Bietigheim take her tally to 566
- Ulrik Kirkely's European debut with the Györi Audi ETO KC started on a positive note - Györ winning for the fifth time against Brest Bretagne Handball
- Stine Oftedal's goal to make it18:16 against Brest Bretagne Handball marked Györ's 8,000th goal in the EHF Champions League Women - they joined an exclusive club with Buducnost BEMAX (8,050) and Krim Mercator (8,011)
- the 2022/23 EHF Champions League Women top-scorer Henny Reistad started the season well with six goals in a 30:28 win against CS Rapid Bucuresti
The German side made a comeback in the first half and made a run for their second-ever win against the Montenegrin side. Goalkeeper Gabriela Goncalves had an essential role in widening the gap between the sides, closing the day with 11 saves. With a strong defensive display and a well-balanced attack, Bietigheim did not allow Buducnost to level as Bojana Popovic's team did not make the most out of Armelle Attingré's 14 saves, failing to score easy goals. When your best player has five goals out of 14 attempts, you know it was not your day.
It is not easy to win in Podgorica and that is why we are very happy. We knew it would be difficult, but we made a turnaround at the end of the first half and kept the lead until the end.
We played well for the first 25 minutes while we had the strength, after that there was a slump, which the opponent punished. Many players have not been in the training process for a long time, so I expected problems in the attack. In the second half, we allowed them to take a four-goal advantage and that was an unattainable difference.
The EHF FINAL4 2021 semi-final win after the shootout remains Brest's only win against Györi Audi ETO KC in the EHF Champions League Women. The Hungarian club was in front throughout most of the match, with Brest Bretagne not once taking a lead to their side, despite levelling numerous times. Valeriia Maslova gave the match a more exciting finish with her fifth goal, but the goalkeepers had the last word. After Julie Foggea's 12th save (47% efficiency) in the game, Brest had an opportunity for a draw, but Sandra Toft's last-second save sparked celebrations for her team.
I am very happy to get two points. I must admit that Brest played well. I think the key moment was which team had more control in the last three or four minutes. Fortunately, it worked out in our favour.
We are disappointed. We cannot be satisfied with a defeat. We are aware of the level of the opponent, but we are ambitious. When we enter the court, we want to win. I think we showed a beautiful face and qualities, solidarity, a community. I think this is the right path and we want to bounce back quickly.
Team Esbjerg did not have an easy start, but they managed to make a turnaround near the end of the first 30 minutes, courtesy of Kristine Breistøl's four straight goals. A recognisable Danish game with a strong defence and an equally efficient attack was crucial for the win against the Romanians. Sorina Maria Grozav and Orleane Kanor, with five goals each but not being able to penetrate the opponents' defence, turned out to be a crucial problem for Rapid, especially with Anna Opstrup Kristensen building a wall with 17 saves at 39 per cent save efficiency.
We put in a lot of spirit and fight in the first half. Also in the second, but I must admit Rapid played a very strong game. I am very happy about the win today, because I think it was a strong team that we beat today.
I told the team in the half-time break that we had to continue because we played 25 good minutes. But Team Esbjerg are just a powerful team and have players who can decide the game by themselves. Today, believing was the most important thing, and I am proud of the team. We pushed them to the last second, and with a bit of luck it could have been closer.