SEMI-FINAL REVIEW: Vipers took revenge on Viborg, while a home draw against Kastamonu was enough for Craiova to reach the Women's EHF Cup final.
Vipers and Craiova write history
After a three-goal defeat at Viborg, Vipers had an opportunity to take revenge on home court, and the 29:23 victory in a thrilling game saw the Norwegian team claiming a final berth.
A game in Craiova was even more dramatic, with nothing being clear until the end, yet the 18:18 draw at home helped the Romanian side to go through at the expense of Kastamonu.
Women's EHF Cup semi-final, second leg
Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Viborg HK (DEN) 29:23 (15:14)
A three-goal defeat in Viborg had left Vipers a fair chance to take revenge, and the support of home crowd helped the team from Kristiansand to reach their goal.
Vipers enjoyed a good start, and Viborg asked for their first time-out six minutes into the match, as the team were losing 4:0.
That seemed to help - similar to the first leg, Kristina Jorgensen was Viborg's driving force, and her impact helped the visitors to catch up. Although Vipers led by five goals at times, their advantage shrank to just 15:14 before the break.
Early in the second half, Viborg drew level at 15:15, but then the home side had a brilliant 5:0 run during the next seven minutes. Kari Skaar Brattset and Linn Jorum Sulland were Vipers' heroes of the day, finishing the game with nine and seven goals respectively.
The thriller, however, was not over as the Danish team reduced the deficit to 21:18. But fortunately for Vipers, Katrine Lunde played a good game against her former team.
Her saves helped the hosts to extend their advantage to 26:19 with ten minutes to go, and Vipers went on to clinch a six-goal victory which gave them an historic ticket to the EHF Cup final.
Following a narrow win at Kastamonu, SCM looked like clear favourites to go through, but strangely enough, this Romanian side play better away than at home - at least in the knock-out rounds of the current competition.
The game in Craiova was back and forth, and while the hosts led by two goals midway through the first half, Kastamonu turned the tide and enjoyed a one-goal advantage at the break.
SCM's goalkeeper Florentina Stanciu played an excellent game, and thanks to her saves the Romanian team came back to 11:10 by the 35th minute.
However, Kastamonu fought extremely hard and certainly had their chance. Six minutes from time, the Turkish side were up 17:15, yet Craiova drew level at 17:17 by the 59th minute.
In that situation, the visitors had to score twice in order to win on aggregate, yet ultimately the rivals just exchanged goals - much to Craiova's great joy.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / bc
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