GROUP A REVIEW: Thanks to their left-handed duo made of Louise Burgaard and Helene Sajka, Metz easily took the points against HC Podravka Vegeta
Strong left-handed duo guide Metz to an easy win
Metz Handball opened their DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League campaign at home just like they ended last season in the quarter-finals: with a home win.
Podravka knew they would have a hard time on a court that has not been taken over for two years now, and the Croatian side lacked consistency on both sides of the court to compete.
- With 40 goals scored, Metz fell just two goals short of their best attacking performance in the Champions League
- Metz’s best scorer was Louise Burgaard with eight goals, while Tjasa Stanko netted six times for Podravka
- Left handers scored a combined 20 goals for Metz – exactly half of their team’s tally
Metz Handball (FRA) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) 40:26 (24:13)
Whoever thought that Metz Handball would suffer through the absence of four major players may have to think again now. Despite Xenia Smits, Laura Glauser, Laura Flippes and Orlane Kanor being out through injury, the French side took the reins of the game early on and never lost control.
The right-handers were the first to fire away, scoring a combined 11 goals in the first half to put the hosts on the right track.
Thanks to Tjasa Stanko, Podravka remained in the game for a while, and Metz only led by five after 16 minutes. But when Metz’s defence became as efficient as their attack, the visitors could not do anything and they were down by 11 at the break.
A team with as much experience as Metz does not a lead slip when they are ahead by so many. And the French side carried on accelerating in the second half, with Grace Zaadi and Marion Maubon taking every shot to score. Left wing Maubon gave Metz their biggest advantage of the game, 15 goals, in the 44th minute.
With the two points in hand, Emmanuel Mayonnade, Metz’s coach, decided to open his bench and give some of his players their first Champions League experience. Some of them struggled a little bit, but it was not enough to give the Croatian side any hope of victory. With two in-flight goals to wrap the game up, Metz ultimately won by 14, 40:26.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / jw