Valentini secures last-gasp victory for Metz

ER 2842 (1) EHF / Danijela Vekić

In a nail-biting finish after an exciting match, Metz Handball beat Györi Audi ETO KC for the second time in the EHF Champions League this season to remain as group B leaders.

The Hungarian powerhouse made a comeback powered by Ana Gros and Sandra Toft midway through the first half that appeared to completely change the course of the match.

However, in the final moments, Metz's trio of Hatadou Sako, Kristina Jørgensen and Chloé Valentini lifted the team and secured an important win in the battle for a quarter-final spot with only two rounds to go.

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) 29:28 (13:13)

  • Metz started powerfully with their strong 6-0 defence leaving Györ behind in the first 20 minutes – the Hungarian side had a period of eight minutes without a goal
  • after Metz took a four-goal lead in the first half, Sandra Toft made a few consecutive saves to finish the half with nine saves. Toft's performance helped Ana Gros to score her sixth goal, which cut Metz's lead to one goal (10:9), but Toft's total of 16 saves and Gros' 10 goals were ultimately not enough
  • at the beginning of the second half, Stine Bredal Oftedal netted for Györ's first lead, but a new series of turnovers saw them trail by three again
  • Metz's strong defence helped Hatadou Sako between the posts, and their quick transition and fast break goals allowed the home side to lead 24:21
  • Györ had another turnaround to draw level at 25:25 six minutes before the final buzzer – giving the match a deserved thrilling finish
  • Hatadou Sako, Kristina Jørgensen and Chloé Valentini were the heroines of the night for Metz. First Sako saved Gros' shot, preventing Györ from opening a two-goal lead, before Jørgensen scored two crucial penalties and intercepted Györ's last attack, allowing Valentini to make a run for it and score on the buzzer for a 29:28 win

Metz remain at the top of group B

Metz extended their winning streak to seven games and defended their position as group B leaders. The French powerhouse had only beaten Györ once before this season in the Champions League (32:31 in the 2016/17 quarter-finals) – but by winning 29:28 they are now two for two in 2022/23.

Emmanuel Mayonnade's team achieved their 90th Champions League win in the history of the club and are on course to booking a spot that leads directly to the quarter-finals. Not only that, this is their best group phase season in the last three years – 10 wins, one draw and only one defeat with two more rounds to go. In both previous seasons, Metz had four defeats at the end of 14 rounds. 

Of course I'm very happy with the result. I don't know if we deserved to win, but we led for most of the game. The atmosphere tonight was unbelievable and I don't know if it was possible to lose with it. Anyway, I am very proud of my team.

Emmanuel Mayonnade
Coach, Metz Handball
230121 Metzhandball Gyor (1)
I can't say much more, I'm so proud of my team, the staff and all the people around the club. I didn't think I could do so many wonderful things. We work very hard and grow every day to experience things like this.
Louise Burgaard
Right back, Metz Handball

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