Metz seal bronze with first-ever win at the EHF FINAL4
Metz Handball had three losses in three games at the EHF FINAL4 before this Sunday’s 3/4 placement match against Team Esbjerg, but the French champions turned the tide and sealed their first-ever win in the business end of the European premium competition.
A strong outing in the first half, which saw Team Esbjerg’s attack stopped in its tracks, helped Metz to a 32:26 win and bronze in the EHF Champions League Women.
3/4 PLACEMENT MATCH
- a strong defence, which morphed into a 5-1 aggressive stance at times, helped Metz prevent Esbjerg from scoring for 10 minutes and 58 seconds, enabling a 5:0 run early in the first half
- the Danish side has not conceded as many goals in the first half of an EHF Champions League Women game in the past 23 matches – not since October 2020, in a 29:31 loss against Metz
- Norwegian back Henny Reistad scored 10 goals, improving her overall tally this season to 104 goals. She is the fourth player to hit that milestone this season, after Romanian left back Cristina Neagu, Slovenian right back Ana Gros and fellow Norwegian right back Nora Mørk
- Reistad also jumped to sixth place in the all-time top goal scorer standings for the EHF FINAL4, with 48 goals in six games, only nine goals shy of record holders Anita Görbicz and Nycke Groot
- Danish teams are still looking for their first win at the EHF FINAL4, after both FC Midtjylland and Team Esbjerg finished fourth in their two participations in Budapest
Metz enjoy final salvo before major rebuild
It was the strong start, which saw a powerful and capable Esbjerg attack stopped in its tracks – scoring three goals in 16 minutes – that really lifted Metz Handball to their first bronze medal at the EHF FINAL4, finishing the best season in the history of the club in the European premium competition in style.
With team captain Meline Nocandy, goalkeeper Ivana Kapitanovic, backs Grace Zaadi and Orlane Kanor leaving this summer, it will be a total overhaul for Metz Handball, as coach Emmanuel Mayonnade will surely have his work cut out to create a new side capable of reaching this heights.
This game also concluded a difficult week for Team Esbjerg, who conceded two losses in two games at the EHF FINAL4, double the amount they had for the whole season in the previous 16 games.
The Danish side also lost the domestic title on Tuesday, with a 24:25 loss against Odense, therefore Jesper Jensen will surely learn a thing or two about what needs to be tweaked over the next months.
This season has been nothing short of special, there is something with this team. I do not know if we deserved this bronze medal, but we worked a lot this season.
I think we played well in the first minutes, but when we looked at the scoreboard, we were down 5:2. Metz dominated the game, they deserved the win.