Who ever said that the Euro Cup was boring?
There were four highly entertaining clashes this evening, and there is still much to be settled after the first legs of the women’s Euro Cup quarterfinals.
It was a pretty decent showing from the Greeks tonight – Vouliagmeni defeated Eger 15-12 at home, while Ethnikos return to Greece on a parity with struggling UVSE (10-10).
Terrassa and Lille both shocked their opponents; Terrassa were the more successful though, defeating FTC 9-7, while Lille put up a much stronger fight than anticipated by Plebiscito, 12-10.
The highly anticipated match between UVSE and Ethnikos ended in a thrilling 10-10 draw at Alfred Hajos, leaving both teams with everything to play for in the second leg. UVSE will be pleased just to not have lost a game, however they might come to rue not taking a more assertive scoreline to Athens in two weeks. Ioulia Kontoni of Ethnikos and Kata Hajdu of UVSE shone on the field, each scoring crucial goals for their respective teams.
Meanwhile, Terrassa will cling onto a two goal lead when they face Ferencvaros in their return leg in the Hungarian capital. The Spanish were excellent this evening, and wont have any fear going into the second leg. However, repeating the kind of performance they mustered this evening at Nepliget will be extremely difficult. It will be an incredibly interesting watch.
A depleted Eger can be proud of how they performed against Vouliagmeni this evening, but that won’t be a consolation as they need to overturn a three goal deficit back home at Bitskey. Amy Ridge, fast becoming an indispensable member of Vouliagmeni’s squad, hit five this evening.
And finally, Plebiscito Padova were made to feel extremely uncomfortable against Lille tonight, and despite a 12-10 victory, the Italians were perhaps a little too casual in underestimating their opponents this evening, who will be more than capable of knocking their opponents out back in the North of france in a fortnight.
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UVSE 10 – 10 Ethnikos (1-3, 5-2, 1-2, 3-3)
UVSE: A. Magyari, T. Aubeli, E. Macsai 2, P. Tiba, G. Szucs 1, E. Varro 1, V. Baksa 1, N. Golopencza, P. Szegedi, K. Hajdu 4, Z. Lendvay, K. Peresztegi-Nagy 1, S. Golopencza
Ethnikos: E. Sotireli, A. Karampetsou, M. Borisova 1, E. Beta, I. Kontoni 3, E. Katsimpri 1, F. Chatzikyriakaki 1, A. Benekou 2, M. Rakintzi, E. Kanetidou, I. Benekou, C. Andrews 2, A. Bekri
Both UVSE and Ethnikos still have it all to play for in the second leg after holding each other to a tantalising 10-10 draw at Alfred Hajos this afternoon.
Prior to this weekend, there was a great deal of interest in the match in Budapest, and it did not disappoint. The two teams were extremely evenly matched, and each may argue that it was their right to take a narrow lead into the second leg. However, on balance, the result was fair. The teams will do it all again next two weeks.
Ioulia Kontoni, one of their best players this season, led Ethnikos with three goals, while Alkistis Benekou and Charlize Andrews each scored twice.
UVSE, who will be somewhat relieved not to have lost this game, were led by Kata Hajdu’s outstanding performance. She has not been at her best lately, but her four goals today were crucial for Marton Benczur’s squad.
For the first eight minutes of the match, Ethnikos appeared to be the more confident team. Aussie Charlize Andrews and Alkistis Benekou slotted home well on the Ethnikos man-up moves, while Russian International, Mariia Borisova ensured the Greeks reflected their first quarter efforts on the scoreline (3-1).
In the second period, UVSE entered the game and promptly took the lead. UVSE’s two Eszters (Macsai and Varro) converted well from close range to take a one-goal lead into the final, with Kata Hajdu leading the way with three scores. Macsai’s goal came right on the half-time buzzer.
Within the first attack of the third, UVSE crafted a two-score cushion, via left-hander Vanda Baksa, but Ethnikos halted their hosts from pulling away, and it was Ioulia Kontoni who came up with the goods – firstly from open play, and then converting a 5m penalty late in the third (7-7).
Continuing their pattern from the previous quarter, UVSE’s captain Gabriella Szucs started the fourth with a tidy finish. However, the reigning Hungarian champions suddenly found themselves chasing the game, with scores from Foivi Chatzikyriakaki and Kontoni turning the game on its head (9-8).
But UVSE salvaged an important result in the closing moments via their extra-play attacks. Eszter Macsai netted her second, before Kinga Peresztegi-Nagy levelled the game with just over a minute to play.
CN Terrassa 9 – 7 FTC Telekom (2-1, 2-3, 4-2, 1-1)
Terrassa: S. Domene, L. Ferrer, K. Paul, N. Cuenda 1, C. Cantero 2, D. Quinzada, N. Ten Broek 1, P. Pena 1, D. Menakerman, P. Camus 2, A. Finestra, F. Bosveld 2, E. Arcas
FTC: B. Neszmely, B. Vosseberg 1, Z. Mate, G. Gurisatti 2, P. Pocze 2, E. Millot, D. Leimeter 2, A. Illes, S. Kuna 1, P. Petik, D. Toth-Csabai 1, D. Domsodi, L. Greso
Ferencvaros were stopped in their tracks and handed a rare loss this season by a tenacious Terrassa. In yet another thrilling Euro Cup contest, the revitalised Spanish team prevailed by a score of 9-7.
Xavi Perez will feel his team was well deserving of the two-goal advantage they will take to the Hungarian capital for the second leg thanks to goals from their captain Cristina Cantero, Spanish international Paula Camus, and Dutch rising star Fleurien Bosveld.
FTC will be disappointed to have lost, and will know they have a tough assignment in two weeks time. Fradi will believe they can defeat Terrassa in their own backyard, but if the Spaniards perform as they did tonight, they may be in trouble.
Terrassa were in the mood from the get-go, with Noelia Cuenda Morillo and Pili Pena opening a 2-0 lead for the home side after two and half minutes.
However, they didn’t have it all their way, as Fradi fought their way back to a 4-4 parity at half-time, inspired by two goals from the competition’s top goal-scorer, Greta Gurisatti.
Despite a brief period of unease when Dora Leimeter put the away side 5-4 up, it was pedal to the metal time for Terrassa, who netted the next four scores; Ten Broek from the 5m penalty line, and three extra-player strikes – two from Bosveld and one from Camus. FTC netted a extra-player move of their own with 0:24 to play in the quarter – via left-handed Belen Vosseberg – to keep the pressure on the hosts.
And despite a few minutes of inactivity, with both teams apprehensively testing the waters, Terrassa saw the game out with a two-goal lead.
NC Vouliagmeni 15 – 12 ZF Eger (2-2, 5-4, 4-4, 4-2)
Vouliagmeni: M. Kotsioni, S. Kaiafa 1, D. Kalogeropoulou, E. Elliniadi 1, A. Giannopoulou 3, A. Ridge 5, E. Tankeeva 2, E. Wright 2, K. Stratidaki, D. Andreadi, M. Mimidi, F. Angeledi, E. Patra
ZF Eger: A. Kiss, I. Borsi 2, R. Parkes 1, D. Molnar, Z. Katona, D. Czigany 4, B. Kekesi, F. Bodi, C. Szellak 1, D. Szilagyi 4, M. Dulic
Vouliagmeni will defend a three goal lead when they travel to Eger for the second leg of their Euro Cup quarter-final, after defeating a depleted Eger side this evening.
Five goals from Australia centre-back Amy Ridge topped the goal-scoring charts, while Greek International, Athina Giannopoulou netted a hat-trick.
The game was neck-and-neck throughout, as the ten-member Eger squad, full of grit and determination, refused to let the hosts pull away.
The first quarter was nip and tuck, with Vouliagmeni twice responding immediately after the Hungarians scored (2-2).
In the second half, however, Vouliagmeni found its rhythm; Emma Wright and Amy Ridge both converted 5m penalties, and Ekaterina Tankeeva and Foivi Angeledi scored two goals in less than a minute. Dora Czigany and Ilona Borsi, both seasoned shooters, aided Eger in maintaining a one-point deficit at halftime.
The game got a bit clunky from there, and for a short time, the only way the teams could find a breakthrough was via the penalty line (Szilagyi twice for Eger, Elliniadi for Vouliagmeni).
Despite Szilagyi’s third goal in the third quarter, the Greeks maintained their lead heading into the final eight minutes; Canadian international Emma Wright’s timely intervention was a huge boost for the hosts.
And in the end, it was Kiki Liosi’s side who found the cutting edge early in the last quarter, courtesy of braces from Ridge and Giannopoulou. A three goal margin to take to Hungary is promising for the Greeks’ chances to make the semi-finals, but not conclusive.
Plebiscito Padvoa 12 – 10 LUC Metropole (4-3, 4-3, 2-2, 2-2)
Padova: L. Teani, L. Barzon 2, V. Valyi 1, G. Citino, E. Queirolo, A. Cason 2, A. Millo 1, S. Dario, H. McKelvey 2, C. Meggiato, S. Centanni 2, B. Cassara, C. Giacon
Lille: M. Rycraw, M. Ouchache, L. Baes, G. Fitaire, E. Hardy 2, G. Deike, V. Kordonskaia 1, E. Bovali, O. Hertzka, M. O’Reilly 4, N. Meijer 3, A. Kochetova, E. Lefebvre
Plebiscito will take a two-goal cushion to Hauts-de-France in a fortnight’s time, but they will not take anything for granted after an excellent showing from Lille in their 12-10 defeat this afternoon.
Five members of Stefano Posterivo’s squad scored multiple goals, but his typically stout defensive unit will need to tighten up in the return leg if they want to guarantee their spot in the semifinals.
Lille began the game with intensity, finding openings through Israeli Veronika Kordonskaia and Dutch national Nikki Meijer. However, a double score from Alessia Casson and a conversion from the lightning-fast Hungarian winger Vanda Valyi swung the game in favour of the Italians.
The French side continued to pack a punch via their extra-player scenarios, with USA star Maddie O’Reilly and Erica Hardy hitting past Laura Teani in the Padova net. But Padova carried a threat too. Goals from Barzon (pen), McKelvey, Citino and Millo all added to the Italian sides tally, to give them a two-goal lead at the change of ends (8-6).
And despite the champions of the French Cup’s best efforts, Plebiscito maintained their advantage throughout the second half. Meijer and O’Reilly netted once more, but their goals were cancelled out by goals from McKelvey and Centanni for the Italians. If not for Mia Rycraw’s excellent penalty save, Plebiscito would have been out of sight.
But while Lille pressed relentlessly and closed to within a goal with 5:19 remaining, Plebiscito tapped into their veteran ranks and managed the game with typical maturity. Citino and Barzon each scored within two minutes to restore a three-goal advantage.
We will see how important Maddie O’Reilly’s last minute man-up conversion – her fourth goal of the game – is after the two teams meet again at Marx Dormoy swimming pool next month.
Quarter-finals – 2nd Leg (11th January)
FTC Telekom (7) vs (9) CN Terrassa
Ethnikos (10) vs (10) UVSE
ZF Eger (12) vs (15) NC Vouliagmeni
LUC Metropole (10) vs (12) Plebiscito Padova
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