In the closing match of the first round in the Women’s EHF Champions League match, Metz met Vipers Kristiansand. Even though Vipers can count on experienced players like the Lunde-twins or Linn Sulland, the experience was rather on the French side before the match. Despite this, the Norwegian team showed no signs of excitement as they took control of the game right in the beginning. Katrine Lunde reminded everybody of her best days: the French team struggled to score against her, while in the attacks, the Norwegians were much more cold-blooded than their more experienced opponent and the other Lunde, Kristine also showed some excellent skills. In the middle period of the first half, Metz started to show good signs for their fans: they slowly closed on to their opponent. With some confident finalizations by Ana Gros and Manon Houette, Metz slowly took over the control of the game and was going in front. In the goal, Marina Rajcic came up with an excellent performance and had a great role in Metz’s turn. At halftime, the French team was leading 14-12.
In the second half, Metz was much more dominant than in the first. Katrine Lunde’s performance fell back, especially compared to her save percentage in the first period of the first half, while on the other side, Marina Rajcic made some spectacular saves. In this part of the game, Metz was a lot better and proved that the Champions League is a completely different story to play. The constantly increasing gap gave more confidence to the home team and the guests from Norway had no response, even though some players like Kari Brattset or Malin Aune came up with good performances. Overall, Vipers wasn’t consistent enough to have a chance in Les Arénes in Metz where teams like Vardar, Buducnost or Győr failed to win last season. In the second half, there were no questions about the winner: Metz kept two important points at home.
EHF Champions League – Group D – 1st round
Metz – Vipers Kristiansand 30-22 (14-12)
Metz: A. Gros 7, M. Houette 5, G. Zaadi 5, O. Kanor 4, L. Flippes 3, M. Nocandy 2, L. Landre 2, J. Luciano 1, X. Smits 1
Vipers: M. Aune 6, K. Brattset 4, J. Kristiansen 4, L. Sulland 4, Kr. Lunde Borgersen 3, E. Hegh Arntzen 1
Penalties: 3/3 ; 3/2
Suspensions: 6 minutes ; 8 minutes