Hungary’s Győri Audi ETO KC triumphed in the women’s handball Champions League by defeating its opponent Vardar Skopje of FYR Macedonia in Budapest’s László Papp Sports Arena on Sunday.
Following saturday’s semifinals, where both teams won confidently, everyone expected a tight, tense final. The fact that last year’s final saw the same two teams face off only added to the thrill. Indeed, neither team could gain a decisive edge by the end of the regular 60 minutes, meaning that the match was sent into extra time just as it did one year ago. At one point in the overtime, ETO managed to lead with 2 goals; before the final buzzer, however, the difference was only 1 and Vardar had the chance to equalize. But then came ETO’s substitute goalkeeper Éva Kiss and thanks to a fast-break save in the dying seconds of the extra time, ETO could lift the trophy once again.
At present, Győri Audi ETO KC is definitely the strongest team in women’s handball, celebrating its fourth Champions League title in six years and additionally becoming the first side to defend the title since the Final 4 system was implemented in 2014. In the club’s latest successes, car manufacturer Audi which has a huge factory in Győr which employs tens of thousands, played an essential role; through its financial support, the German company has enabled the green-whites to have one of the highest budgets in women’s handball continent-wide for years.
Furthermore, the game was a farewell for Győri ETO’s Spanish head coach Ambros Martín, who, having lead the team since 2012, is one of the masterminds behind its CL victories. He will be moving to Russia in order to train the Rostov-Don club. Interestingly, the Hungarian domestic championship is still underway, with Győri ETO and Ferencváros tied in points ahead of the final rounds.
In total, out of 16 finals played, this is the sixth time a Hungarian club has clinched the most precious club competition’s trophy in women handball: Vasas won in 1982, Dunaferr in 1999 and Győri ETO in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018.
via eurohandball.com, nso.hu, qubit.hu
images via Illyés Tibor/ MTI