In a very unequal semifinal, defending champions Győri Audi ETO KC defeated debutants Vipers Kristiansand 22-31 and are through to their fourth consecutive DELO Women’s EHF Final 4 final.
It was not so easy to predict what would happen on today’s opening match of the DELO Women’s EHF Final 4. While Hungarian champions may have seemed the obvious choice for many, coming into the semifinals, anyone could’ve given a shot to the Norwegian side. But all of that expectation was quickly vanished by the team conducted by Gábor Danyi.
After the first 12 minutes, Győr was already leading 2-8, displaying a very tough defense with Eduarda Amorim and Kari Brattset as the defensive duo in the center. Along with Amandine Leynaud, these three players were the biggest assets on the Hungarian side that was dominating in all phases of the game.
After 15 minutes, with the score at 4-10, Ole Gustav Gjekstad had already requested two timeouts. Some saves from Katrine Lunde were keeping a decent distance on the scoreboard, and on the attack, goals from Linn Jørum Sulland and Henny Reistad were not enough to catch up. By the end of the first half, the back to back champions were leading 8-18, with that last goal being scored by Nora Mørk, who was making her return to the Papp Laszlo Sportárena as a healthy player.
On the second half, Vipers were only able to reduce the gap to 7 after 12 minutes (16-23), with good performances from Emilie Hegh Arntzen and Silje Waade, however, they could not get any closer than that and Győr continued to score through all its players (only the goalkeepers left the court scoreless).
Despite the last efforts from Hannah Yttereng and Arntzen, Vipers could not recover from the 10-goal gap created already on the first period and the Hungarians took a rather comfortable victory, advancing to their fourth consecutive final.
After the match, Leynaud reflected on the match: “We started great and our defense was amazing. We had more and more confidence as minutes went by and when they started to go down a little, we put pressure on them. It’s not easy to play a Final 4, I know this, but this is already my 6th one. I’m happy to start like this, it gives us a lot of confidence. My defense was perfect, and I had a good feeling today”.
On the other side, coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad looked visibly upset on the press conference room, where he stated: “Today nothing went the way we planned and when you trail by 10 goals is impossible to come back. Of course, I have to congratulate Győr, they have amazing players, but I’m disappointed that we couldn’t keep up with the defense”.