Esbjerg secure second straight quarter-final spot
After winning in the first leg of the play-offs by three goals against Brest Bretagne Handball, Team Esbjerg repeated the feat on Sunday and secured a place in the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23.
The Danish club were boosted by a top performance from the competition's top scorer, Henny Ella Reistad, as they stepped up a gear in the second half, which was decisive for sealing their third appearance in the quarter-finals, where they will meet CSM Bucuresti.
PLAY-OFFS, SECOND LEG
MOTW: Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) 27:24 (14:12)
Team Esbjerg won 55:49 on aggregate
- it was an even start in Denmark, with both sides holding a narrow lead at least once in the first quarter
- goalkeepers Anna Kristensen and Julie Foggea had a crucial part in the goalless period midway through the first half, but Esbjerg took the first two-goal lead near the end of the first half. Esbjerg's shot efficiency of 64 per cent during the first half was better than Brest's 52 per cent
- Kristine Breistøl delivered two strong shots and a good defensive performance for Esbjerg's first four-goal lead in the game (18:14), which turned out to be decisive for the result
- Jenny Carlson led Brest with five goals, but as the French side had problems in attack in the second half, Monika Kobylinska stood out with three goals
- Anna Kristensen, who finished with a 32 per cent save efficiency, was once again unbeatable between the posts in the crucial moments
- the Player of the Match was the competition's top scorer, Henny Ella Reistad, who added six more goals, and her competition tally now stands at 121
Esbjerg achieve their first goal
Team Esbjerg are playing in their sixth EHF Champions League Women season, and ahead of the last group phase matches they clearly said they want a quarter-final spot. Defeating Brest Bretagne for the second time in the play-offs marked the Danish side's 40th win in the competition and delivered their third quarter-final appearance.
This is Esbjerg's second straight placement among the top eight, after missing out in the 2020/21 season. The reason for missing out? Well, Brest Bretagne. The French club eliminated Esbjerg in the play-offs in 2020/21, winning 63:54 on aggregate. Two years later, Esbjerg got their revenge – claiming their only two wins in six encounters against Brest.
Photo credit: Niels Husted / nhcfoto.dk
We hope to continue this streak we are on. The play-off matches against Brest were tough, and we are happy to get through to the quarter finals.
We were without two important players, but that is just how it is during a season. Sometimes you have all of your players, and sometimes you have injuries, but I think we played two tough matches. Today it was hard because we lost at home and Esbjerg could control the score.
We went into the match today with a lot of tension. We saw in the first leg that Brest is a difficult team with strong players, so we are very happy to get to the quarter finals because it was an equal match between the teams.