FTC reach quarter-finals for the first time since 2019
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria sealed a comfortable five-goal win in the second leg of their EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 play-off tie against WHC Buducnost BEMAX to set up a quarter-final clash with Metz Handball.
The Hungarian side led throughout both games, despite the fact that Buducnost's strong spirit never faltered. After a hard-fought win in Podgorica, with top performances again from Antje Angela Malestein and Alicia Stolle, FTC celebrated once again in front of their fans, who provided additional support with loud chants from the stands.
FTC's victory was great revenge for their 50:48 defeat on aggregate in the play-offs against Buducnost in the 2020/21 season.
PLAY-OFFS, SECOND LEG
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs WHC Buducnost BEMAX (MNE) 27:22 (14:13)
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria won 55:46 on aggregate
- it was almost a repeat situation from the first leg - FTC took the first two-goal lead through Antje Angela Malestein, who was again their top scorer alongside Alicia Stolle with five goals, and Katrin Kljuber
- from the 10th to the 20th minute, both sides had a blackout with too many misses, resulting in both teams being goalless for five minutes
- Buducnost caught up with FTC on three occasions in the first half (4:4, 7:7, 13:13), but Katrin Klujber's precision from a nine-metre shot over the wall handed the Hungarian side a narrow lead at half-time
- FTC reached their first four-goal lead in the game 11 minutes before the final buzzer. Goalkeeper Kinga Janurik stepped up in the second half, producing some crucial saves to help increase her side's lead, and Andrea Lekic scored an important goal in the 49th minute
- four players scored all of Buducnost's goals – Milena Raicevic, Ivona Pavicevic, Matea Pletikosic and Ivana Godec
FTC back among Europe's top eight
On Saturday, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria secured their 11th quarter-final appearance in 23 seasons playing in the EHF Champions League Women. After finishing fourth in group A, Gabor Elek's team worked hard in both play-off matches to stop Buducnost.
By progressing further, FTC are back on track to recreate their former glories. The last time the Hungarian side were in the quarter-finals was in the 2018/19 season. For two straight seasons, their journey was ended in the play-offs by Krim Mercator Ljubljana and Saturday's opponents, Buducnost.
Photo credit: Fradi.hu
It was a special match. Because of Buducnost's special style, we had to adapt, but finally we were successful. We didn't play as well as we can, but a nine-goal difference is confident. I am happy that we go through to the best eight.
We fought for 55 minutes and I really proud of my team. We tried to create chances in attack and also in defence. We found a lot of chances, but—like in the first match—we missed a lot of shots. I believe next year we will play better and maybe we can reach the quarter finals.