Women’s handball: CSM Bucharest wins Champions League trophy!

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Romanian’s handball team CSM Bucharest has won the Champions League trophy after defeating Hungarian Gyor ETO 29-26 (13-12, 22-22) after overtime and the 7 meter throws in the final on Sunday, in Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest.

The Romanian champions produced a huge surprise by this fully deserved success, at the end of a dramatic match.

Gyor won the trophy twice in the last three years (in 2013, 2014).

Romania has twice won the most important inter-European competition, when it was called the European Cup: Știința Bucharest (1961) and Rapid Bucharest (1964).

Universitatea Timișoara played the final in 1973, Știința Bacău in 1986 and Oltchim Rm. Valcea has played the Champions League final in 2010.

CSM Bucuresti might have been the least favoured team in the Women’s EHF FINAL4 but Kim Rasmussen’s team played two near-perfect games in Budapest to claim the title in their first Champions League season. The tournament’s MVP in the CSM’s goal Jelena Grubisic and the competition’s top scorer Bella Gulldén with amazing 15 goals did most of the job but just like on Saturday the Romanian champion did not have a weak link, eurohandball.com reports.

A tremendous crescendo of noise from both sets of fans put down the referees whistle when the last game of Europe’s elite handball competition threw off in the sold-out Papp László arena.

Duels between Jelena Grubisic and Heidi Löke marked the first minutes of the final but it was also a battle of defences as both teams cemented their walls very well. Löke’s goals were answered by Bella Gulldén, who started the final brightly: until the 16th minute the Swedish superstar was the only CSM player who found the way past Győr’s defence.

When she equalised from the seven-meter line with her fifth goal, she officially overtook Ekaterina Ilina on the top scorers’ chart.

Győr beat Bucuresti home and away in the main round but CSM grew so much in confidence that those two games meant nothing and Győr had to give their all to remain up front against their combative opponents, who were backed by the once again mesmerising Grubisic.

Kari Aalvik Grimsbö also made some important saves but her Croatian counterpart made excellent use of her memories as a Győr player. Ambros Martín made quite a few changes but Győr just couldn’t leave CSM behind, what’s more the Romanian outfit took the lead for the first time in the 30th minute.

Grubisic continued to dominate Győr’s attacks and despite Eduarda Amorim found a net a couple of times the Hungarian team struggled to score from nine meters out as Bucuresti closed down spaces excellently.

However, Győr’s defence was just as solid and they soon re-took the lead thanks to a pair of fast break goals and Kim Rasmussen was forced to take his second time-out to draw his players’ attention to the importance of tracking back. Bucuresti managed to keep most of Győr’s creative players at bay but not Löke, who was once again unstoppable.

Győr had a one-goal lead upon entering the last five minutes but Gullden equalized with her 13th goal. The thriller continued to the last minute, fifteen seconds from the final whistle Anita Görbicz scored her first goal of the final from the 7meter line to give Győr the lead but Torstensson’s deflected shot found a way to the net 5 seconds from time and the final went to overtime.

For the last two minutes of regular time Grubisic was replaced by Mayssa Pessoa and while the Brazilian made some nice saves she could not stop Amorim and Knedlikova to give Győr a two-goal lead in the first half of extra-time. Oana Manea drew Bucuresti one back and after Amorim was sent of for a nasty foul on Torstensson the Romanian outfit once again equalised seconds from the end.

Rasmussen continued to shuffle his goalkeepers for the penalty shootout and it was Pessoa who saved Groot’s attempt, and then Löke’s, too to hand the trophy to the Romanian champions.

Bucuresti completed a shock victory beating two favourites in 24 hours and won the Women’s EHF FINAL4 in their first season in the competition. Jelena Grubisic was voted MVP of the FINAL4, the Croatian goalkeeper was simply perfect in both games, eurohandball.com concludes.

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