In the second semifinal of the Women’s EHF Champions League FINAL4, last season’s finalists and all 5 FINAL4-participants Vardar met newcomers Rostov-Don. Vardar took an early lead and mostly thanks to great saves from Amandine Leynaud, the Macedonians managed to keep the Russian champions behind. Even though Mayssa Pessoa helped her team with some saves in the first quarter of the match, the Russians couldn’t close in to their opponents as they were making far too many mistakes. Three goals from experienced Katarina Bulatovic meant that Vardar couldn’t go out of Rostov’s sight, but the three-goal Macedonian lead was deserved at half time (7-10).
In the beginning of the second half, Vardar managed to open up the gap (9-15) but when things seemed to be decided, Rostov woke up from the ashes, closing in to two goals. In the middle of the second half, Ana Paula Rodrigues was taken off on a stretcher in severe pain, and Ekaterina Ilina came to replace the Brazilian world champion. The Russian playmaker entered the game very well, scoring one goal after the other, but on the other side, Vardar found the back of the net continuously as well, so the 3-4 goals difference became constant between the two teams. Entering the last 5 minutes of the game, Vardar’s lead was 3 goals and even though Rostov kept scoring, they couldn’t stop Vardar’s attacks. When Inna Suslina saved a penalty with 3 minutes left and Vardar up 22-18, the match was basically decided, only the difference was the question (19-25). On Sunday, last season’s final will be repeated: Vardar will face Győri Audi ETO KC for the trophy.
Womens EHF FINAL4 – second semifinal
Rostov Don – HC Vardar 19-25 (7-10)
Rostov: Sedoykina, Pessoa, Mekhdieva – Dembele 3, Borschenko, Sen, Barbosa 1, Ilina 5, Rodrigues Belo 2, Vyakhireva 3, Bulatovic 3, Managarova, Sudakova, Makeeva 2, Petrova, Stepanova, Kalinichenko
Vardar: Leynaud, Suslina – Kuznetcova, Penezic 7, Lekic 7, Cvijic, Radicevic 4, Lacrabére 2, Lazovic 3, Petrovic, Ristovska 1, Khmyrova, Canadija 1, Klikovac, Sazdovska, Bajramovska,