The Women’s EHF Champions League semi-finalists
were confirmed on the weekend when the two-leg quarter-finals wrapped up. The
four sides are the same as those that contested the title in the 2015/16
season: Buducnost and HC Vardar qualified for the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 for the
fourth straight season, along with 2016 runners-up Györi AUDI ETO KC and title
winners CSM Bucuresti.
The quarter-finals were played over two
weekends in a two-game format, and Buducnost, Vardar and Bucuresti all won both
of their games to record a clear win on aggregate. Montenegrin powerhouse
Buducnost faced the team they beat to win the trophy in 2015, Larvik, recording
a decisive 31:17 win in the first leg that meant the second match was all but a
formality. On Saturday in Norway, Buducnost confirmed their semi-final spot
with a 35:30 victory to record an aggregative win of 66:47 – by far the
clearest margin in any of the pairings.
Macedonian club HC Vardar, who have made it
to the FINAL4 for now four consecutive seasons but always ranked third on their
three previous attempts, defeated FC Midtjylland with an aggregate of 54:50
after two two-goal wins, including the 26:24 at home on Saturday. CSM Bucuresti
won the Champions League title in 2016 on debut in the competition, and this
year are on track thanks to a 57:51 aggregate win over recently-crowned
Hungarian Cup winners FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria. They entered the second leg with
a comfortable five-goal cushion, and won the away game in Budapest 27:26.
Two-time Champions League winners Györ were
the only team to record defeat in the first leg and turn it around to claim a
FINAL4 place, as they beat Metz Handball 28:22 in France to finish with a 59:54
“We had a horrible game in France but we
knew we couldn’t play that badly twice. But we also knew that if we could raise
our game by 30 per cent we would have a good chance,” said 2014 IHF World
Handball Player of the Year, Györ left back Eduarda Amorim, on ehfCL.com. “We
did more than that – I think we improved 100 per cent.”
The Women’s EHF Champions League semi-final
draw will be held on Tuesday 18 April, and will be streamed live on ehfTV, the
official ehfTV YouTube channel and the EHF Champions League Facebook page.
for more information.
Photo: Denis Dukovski