FTC celebrate first EHF FINAL4 spot after comeback
FTC-Rail Caro Hungaria shocked the French fans by overcoming the six-goal deficit from the first leg of the quarter-finals and beating Metz 33:26 after a blistering start to the second half. Thus, Gábor Elek's team secured their first-ever EHF FINAL4 spot as the second Hungarian club alongside Győr Audi ETO KC.
Metz Handball were eyeing another ticket for Budapest, but their lack of efficiency and strong FTC defence reared their heads, leaving the fans in Palais Omnisports Les Arenes Metz disappointed.
The draw for the EHF FINAL4 will take place in Budapest on Tuesday, 9 May.
QUARTER-FINALS, SECOND LEG
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria win 59:58 on aggregate
- for the first 15 minutes, it was an even game even though FTC showed better defence than in the first leg, making Metz's attack struggle in terms of efficiency
- the Hungarian side was the first one to take a two-goal lead but Metz's 4:0 series resurfaced FTC's nervousness, but luckily they rebounded until the half-time
- the home side had a slow second-half opening which FTC took advantage of and, with the help of Angela Malestein and Emily Bölk, started to build up the lead
- the game was 'restarted' in the 46th minute when experienced Andrea Lekic scored for 27:21, completely erasing Metz's lead from the first leg
- Camille Depuiset and Blanka Bíró had a goalkeepers contest as they were keeping both side's dreams alive, but Bíró pulled crucial ones in the last five minutes of the game to push her team to Budapest
- Angela Malestein was the number one name for the Hungarians, netting a total of eight times; Sarah Bouktit scored the same number for Metz
FTC fighting spirit
When you lose at home by six and need to overcome that deficit in a packed opponents' arena, you need nerves of steel, fighting spirit and belief. FTC had all three. After an even first half, FTC's unassailable attack was making Metz sweat, and with the pressure high, a few players capped off their best performance.
Left back Emily Bölk scored her first goal in the 37th minute of the game and finished the night with five, three coming in the crucial span of six minutes when FTC managed to erase Metz's six-goal lead. Right back Katrin Gitta Klujber found a solution for Metz and not only she did score five times, but she also helped her team achieve great success with nine assists. Last, but not least, Blanka Bíró stepped in between the posts, making crucial saves to keep the lead when Metz were pushing hard to make a rebound or at least secure a penalty shoot-out.
I only know maybe it was not my best game, but this is my dream, why I started to play handball, why I play outside of my country, and we dd not come here to lose. We won already before once from Györ with seven goals, and that’s the best team in the world, so why not from Metz? We just fought for what we could today, we did everything, and this is what happened. I’m so happy.
We had some ups and downs, we could play really good, we played really bad, but I know one thing for sure – we fight like hell and we will never give up.
We played really bad today, almost everything missed. They scored 33 goals and we only scored 26. We missed so many shots in the end and we played stupid in defence. It’s really embarrassing and I’m really disappointed. We needed to be more concentrated during the whole game. We know FTC is an experienced team with a lot of experienced players who play really good. We needed to win this game for all these amazing fans, and we are really sad and disappointed about ourselves and the performance we made today.