Second-half comeback powers Esbjerg past Rostov
With 22 minutes to go, Rostov-Don were cruising with a four-goal lead. However, the Danish side mounted a hit back, to prevent Rostov from scoring more than five goals, and clinched a memorable victory.
- Rostov controlled Esbjerg’s powerful backline, though veteran line player Marit Malm Frafjord was the Danish side’s top scorer, with six goals, her best tally in the DELO EHF Champions League since October 2020
- after Danish goalkeeper Rikke Poulsen replaced Dinah Eckerle between the posts for Esbjerg, the Danish side romped to a 7:1 run, taking the lead for the first time, 23:21, in the 48th minute
- Poulsen finished the game with eight saves, for a 42% saving efficiency, as Rostov scored only five goals in the last 22 minutes of the game
- this was Rostov’s second home loss after the one against FTC last September, with the Russian side now on the third place in the standings, three points behind Esbjerg
- Esbjerg are now on their longest unbeaten run in the competition, seven games, and on their best winning run, clinching the last five games in a row
Rostov’s attacking woes plague them again
Rostov are among the best defending teams in the DELO EHF Champions League, but they lack firepower in attack, after star right back Anna Vyakhireva took a year’s sabbatical from handball. The Russian powerhouse lost against FTC in September, after scoring only 19 times and boasting scoreless stints of nine and 12 minutes.
This time around, Rostov scored only five goals in the last 22 minutes and their last attack was telling of what happened throughout the game. With 10 seconds to go, coach Per Johansson called a timeout, trying to help his team tie the game. It took only six seconds for Henny Reistad to intercept the ball, with Mette Tranborg scoring the last goal in the empty net.
Esbjerg have been nothing short of superb this season and boast a great attack and a superb defence, despite their roster not being stacked. They should be considered one of the teams to beat and are on their way to their first-ever DELO EHF FINAL4 berth.
We played handball with a lot of great players, and after the game I told my girls that we should be very proud to win because Rostov-Don is a great team with great history. There are not so many teams who can beat Rostov-Don here, so we are really proud to win.
Today was a very interesting match. We would like to bring the victory to our fans because this game was filled with emotions, worthy of the Christmas holidays. The first half was really good: in the attack and in the defence. We started the second half with the unforgivable mistakes and Team Esbjerg punished us for them.