Rostov with one foot in the quarter-finals
After RK Krim Mercator had stunned CSKA earlier on Saturday, HC Podravka Vegeta hoped to do the same in the other Balkan-Russian DELO EHF Champions League play-off clash.
However, Rostov-Don were too strong for the Croatian champions, and following a 29:20 win, they have one foot in the quarter-finals.
HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs Rostov-Don (RUS) 20:29 (10:17)
- Podravka were in front just once during the match, 3:2 in the seventh minute
- Rostov then enjoyed a 6:1 run to lead 8:4, and they had a seven-goal advantage at half-time
- led by Dejana Milosavljevic and Dijana Mugoša, Podravka scored four unanswered goals early in the second half to close the gap to 17:14, yet Rostov weathered the storm and responded with their own 4:0 run
- Yulia Dumanska recorded 14 saves and Dejana Milosavljevic scored six goals for Podravka, but similar to many group matches, their individual effort was not enough
- the second leg match will be played in Rostov on Sunday 14 March
Rostov propelled by strong wings
While Anna Vyakhireva, who has not played much in recent months due to various health issues, scored three of her four goals in the last 11 minutes, Rostov mostly relied on their wing players throughout the match.
Iuliia Managarova, Polina Kuznetsova and Katarina Krpez-Slezák combined for 14 goals, almost half of the team’s tally, and they made a big contribution to Rostov's away victory.
I think this game was good. We had a big lead at the break, but Dumanska saved a lot. I could rotate for the full game and that was very important for us because we had a very hard schedule this week. A nine-goal advantage and how the match looked – I am very satisfied.