At the end of a final that they mastered from start to finish, the Nantes players got the best of Siofok to win the European Women’s Handball League (31-36).
The people of Nantes have come to the end of their dream! Victorious at Baia Mare this Saturday for the semi-finals of the European League, Guillaume Saurina’s players have written a page in the history of French women’s club handball by winning their first European title at the expense of the defending champion. what was still called the EHF Cup last season, Siofok. If the two teams developed their game in the first moments of the meeting, it was the Nantes who widened the first significant gap. Nathalie Hagman’s teammates (7 goals on 7 shots) scored four consecutive goals in just under four minutes to take a five-goal advantage even before the end of the first quarter of an hour. French teammates Gnonsiane Niombla (5 goals on 6 shots), Tamara Horacek (3 goals on 6 shots) and Camille Aoustin (1 goal on 1 shot) then tried to reverse the trend, signing a 3-0 in 51 seconds to put Nantes under pressure, whose lead had melted to two lengths.
Nantes has played its game
But it took a lot more to shake the players of Loire-Atlantique, some of their strengths and their ability to stand up to a European cador in this final. Under the impetus of Bruna de Paula (6 goals on 9 shots), the Nantes women in turn inflicted a 3-0 to Siofok in just over a minute to reconstitute a lead of five lengths five minutes before the break . Julia Harsfalvi (4 goals on 5 shots), however, reduced Siofok to four goals, the last two minutes being marked by offensive ineffectiveness on both sides, the NAH missing three shots against two in Siofok. Back on the floor of the Sala Polivalenta Lasca Pana in Baia Mare, Guillaume Saurina’s players resumed their march forward, Marion Maubon (3 goals on 4 shots) and Nathalie Hagman giving their training a six-goal advantage. A gap which then oscillated between five and seven goals for a little over a quarter of an hour, with the two attacks which then took precedence over the defenses.
Siofok played in vain
Just over thirteen minutes from the end of the game, thanks to Beatriz Escribano (3 goals on 3 shots), Nantes got its biggest gap of the match, eight lengths. It was at this moment that the Nantes women were perhaps caught up by the stakes of this final but also the last stand of a Siofok team who did not want to give up. In the space of just under eleven minutes, the Loire-Atlantique players saw their success drop against Melinda Szikora (6 saves at 16% efficiency). The Hungarians did not miss the opportunity to drastically reduce the gap. Indeed, during these eleven minutes, it is a 7-2 that Nantes conceded to see Siofok come back to only three goals with just under three minutes to play. But Deborah Kpodar (4 goals on 7 shots) and Gordana Mitrovic (2 goals on 2 shots) delivered their teammates against a Hungarian team which ended the match in a numerical inferiority. Nantes won in the final by five lengths (31-36) and obtained the holy grail, this European title which was refused in Dijon in 1993 and then in Metz in 2013.
– Nantes Atlantique Handball (@NAHB_officiel) May 9, 2021
HANDBALL – EUROPEAN LEAGUE (F) / FINAL FOUR
Final – Sunday May 9, 2021
Siofok – Nantes : 31-36
Small final – Sunday May 9, 2021
Herning-Ikast – Baia Mare: 31-33
Semi-finals – Saturday May 8, 2021
Nantes – Baia Mare: 36-34
Siofok – Herning-Ikast: 36-34 (ap)