Nantes write history by reaching EHF Finals Women
Nantes Atlantique Handball, who are playing their fifth season in European club competitions, had never reached the semi-final before.
But now the French side wrote history, as they beat HC Zvezda away in Russia last week 33:29, and now a 30:28 win at home secured them a spot in the EHF Finals Women.
QUARTER-FINAL, LEG 2
Nantes Atlantique Handball (FRA) vs HC Zvezda (RUS) 30:28 (15:13)
First leg: 33:29. Aggregate result: 63:57
- in an extremely tight first half, Zvezda were up 13:12 by the 23th minute, but then Nantes scored three unanswered goals to lead 15:13 at the break
- however, Zvezda fought hard, and as their goalkeeper Ekaterina Kirikias made a number of saves, the Russian side led 23:21 midway through the second half
- Bruna De Paula’s impact helped Nantes seize the initiative again, and the French team cruised to a victory
- both goalkeepers did a solid job, as Adriana Placzek made 12 saves for Nantes, and Ekaterina Kirikias recorded 16 saves for Zvezda
- Anna Nikolaeva and Natalia Nikitina became Zvezda’s joint top scorers with six goals
De Paula showing her quality again
Bruna De Paula, Nantes’ best scorer in the competition, did not help her team much in the first half, as she missed her only shot.
However, the Brazilian rose to prominence after the break, netting six times, and she made a particular impact in the crucial phase of the match when her team’s win was under threat.
With 54 goals, De Paula is now level with Braila’s Marina Dmitrovic on top of the competition’s scoring chart, but unlike Dmitrovic, De Paula will have a chance to further increase her tally.