Ramnicu Valcea defend home court
SCM Ramnicu Valcea opened their second-straight quarter-final appearance with an important home win over debutants Nykøbing Falster Håndbold. Good defence and fast breaks saw them take a seven-goal lead, but a drop of energy in the last ten minutes allowed their opponents to narrow the gap ahead of the rematch on Danish soil.
QUARTER-FINAL, FIRST LEG
SCM Ramnicu Valcea (ROU) vs Nykøbing Falster Håndbold (DEN) 32:29 (16:14)
SCM Ramnicu Valcea defended their home court once again this season, taking a first step towards Graz. After a slow start, Nykøbing, powered by counter-attacks took the first two-goal lead (5:7) in the game. Then, one of Valcea's top scorers this season, Asma Elghaoui, led a comeback and her back to back goals put Valcea in front, 10:8. The Danish side showed why they were among the top three defences this season. It gave them a chance to narrow the gap, but Daciana Hosu's 32% save efficiency kept their attack below 52%.
Ten minutes into the second half, the score stretched out to 24:17. Trailing by seven revealed Nykøbing's nervousness as they displayed new bad habits in attack. The home team's technical errors then gave new hope to the Danes and with a blistering series of four goals let by Tyra Axnér. However, they could not narrow the gap further as Valcea embraced the energy coming from the stands, defended the lead and finished the game focused. Iryna Glibko led the home side with seven goals
Key statistic: two 3-0 goal runs (at 7:8 and 16:14), buoyed by the seven saves of Daciana Hosu were crucial for Valcea to impose their own pace and propel them to their biggest lead in the game
We had a bad start to the second half, but we fought back. We only lost by a difference of three goals and I think we should be victorious next week.
We played really good handball today, but of course three goals were less than expected. We had an opportunity to have six goals ahead, but we were punished twice with two minute penalties and that made it complicated for us.