The new season of the EHF Champions League started officially on Friday evening with the match between one of the main title contenders CSM Bucuresti and FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria. The Romanians managed to make some big transfers during the summer: they signed for example Andrea Lekic, Jovanka Radicevic and Dragana Cvijic from Vardar, but on the other hand, Isabelle Gulldén left to Brest. On FTC’s side, Kinga Klivinyi, Djurdjina Malovic and Bobana Klikovac joined the team, while Zita Szucsánszki and Klára Szekeres are taking a break while Marija Jovanovic retired from handball and Laura van der Heijden left Budapest. Before the match, things were looking better on CSM’s side: the star-packed Romanian team is one of the main title contenders this season and they were looking for a victorious start in Europe’s top competition.
They started the match this way: they took an early lead over the Hungarian silver medalists. Cristina Neagu and Majda Mehmedovic were on fire to give their team a 7-3 lead in the first quarter of the game. However, FTC slowly took up the rhythm of the match and thanks to some great goals from Noémi Háfra, they came back to two goals in no time. The Kurtovic-Neagu duo kept pulling the Romanians towards the victory (13-8). In the last 10 minutes of the first half, the Hungarians came closer again, but CSM always found a momentum to save themselves from real danger, while FTC’s defense wasn’t able to keep Dragana Cvijic from scoring. The difference was five goals at the halftime whistle (18-13).
If the Hungarians wanted to keep hopes alive, they needed a lot of improvement in defense to stop the Romanians from scoring easy goals, and they even managed to improve. Some fast breaks helped FTC come closer to their rival, but they still weren’t close enough to put real pressure on the home side. FTC had chances to come even closer, but some badly timed Hungarian mistakes put CSM back on track. Mehmedovic was cold-blooded in most of her chances, and there were no doubts about the fate of the two points. However, FTC didn’t give up until the last minute and that resulted in avoiding a bigger defeat. CSM took a victorious start, confidently, without any danger and pressure, they won 36-31.
EHF Champions League – 1st round – Group D
CSM Bucuresti – FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria 36-31 (18-13)
CSM Bucuresti: C. Neagu 9, M. Mehmedovic 8, A. Kurtovic 6, A. Lekic 5, J. Radicevic 3, D. Cvijic 3, E. Omoregie 2
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria: N. Háfra 6, A. Kovacsics 5, N. Schatzl 4, V. Lukács 3, D. Snelder 3, K. Klivinyi 3, N. Pena 3, D. Faluvégi 2, D. Hornyák 1, G. Márton 1
Penalties: 2/2 ; 1/1
Suspensions: 8 minutes ; 2 minutes