Great comeback sees FTC to EHF FINAL4 trophy match

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EHF / Adrian Costeiu

In their third game at the EHF FINAL4, Team Esbjerg looked to be a clear favourites to beat FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria. But an otherworldly comeback from the rookies saw FTC clinch their first berth in the title game at the EHF FINAL4 with a 30:29 win.

The winning goal was scored by left back Emily Bölk with only two seconds remaining in the game, ensuring a Hungarian side are in the final of the EHF FINAL4 for the seventh time in nine editions.

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN) 30:29 (13:17)

  • the MVM Dome was sold out for the second game of this season’s EHF FINAL4, setting a new world record for attendance at a women’s handball game, with 20,022 fans in the stands
  • FTC were down five goals in the 31st minute, but mounted an astonishing comeback — one of the biggest in the history of the EHF FINAL4, to turn the game on its head
  • this will be the first time since a rookie made it to the final in the business end of the premium European competition since the 2020/21 season, when Brest Bretagne Handball sealed the semi-final win
  • this season’s top scorer, Henny Reistad, scored seven goals for Esbjerg, and is now only two goals shy of the top goal scorer record in the EHF FINAL4, jointly held by Nycke Groot and Anita Görbicz, with 57 goals
  • FTC centre back Andrea Lekic became only the sixth player in history to reach the 50-goal mark at the EHF FINAL4, with a five-goal performance against Esbjerg
  • Esbjerg lost for the first time since February, breaking a 21-game winning streak in all competitions. They will face Györ in the 3/4 placement match, while FTC set up a final against Vipers Kristiansand

Lekic lifts FTC to the final

One year removed after a disappointing performance in the EHF FINAL4, where they lost both matches, Team Esbjerg looked set to secure a place in the final, after taking a 18:13 lead against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria.

Eventually, even with a stellar back line, where Nora Mørk, Henny Reistad and Kristine Breistøl combined for 18 goals, Esbjerg missed the chance to clinch their first win at the EHF FINAL4, as they have conceded three losses in the three games they played so far.

It was another gritty performance from FTC, who sealed their berth at the EHF FINAL4 after turning a six-goal loss into a seven-goal win against Metz Handball in the quarter-finals. And no player embodies the spirit of the Hungarian side better than Andrea Lekic.

The centre back scored five goals and was the leader of the side on their way to their maiden final in the premium European competition, where they will face Vipers Kristiansand — a team they played twice against this season, losing one game and drawing the other.

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It is very hard to say something now. It is something historic. It was like a home game for us. I cannot explain the happiness we feel now. Our home is just three blocks away, so to be here is like a dream came true. To win was a miracle.
Gabor Elek
FTC coach

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