FTC-Rail Caro Hungaria shocked the French fans by overcoming the six-goal deficit from the first leg of the quarter-finals and beating Metz 33:26 after a blistering start to the second half. Thus, Gábor Elek’s team secured their first-ever EHF FINAL4 spot as the second Hungarian club alongside Győr Audi ETO KC.
Metz Handball were eyeing another ticket for Budapest, but their lack of efficiency and strong FTC defence reared their heads, leaving the fans in Palais Omnisports Les Arenes Metz disappointed.
The draw for the EHF FINAL4 will take place in Budapest on Tuesday, 9 May.
QUARTER-FINALS, SECOND LEG
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria win 59:58 on aggregate
- for the first 15 minutes, it was an even game even though FTC showed better defence than in the first leg, making Metz’s attack struggle in terms of efficiency
- the Hungarian side was the first one to take a two-goal lead but Metz’s 4:0 series resurfaced FTC’s nervousness, but luckily they rebounded until the half-time
- the home side had a slow second-half opening which FTC took advantage of and, with the help of Angela Malestein and Emily Bölk, started to build up the lead
- the game was ‘restarted’ in the 46th minute when experienced Andrea Lekic scored for 27:21, completely erasing Metz’s lead from the first leg
- Camille Depuiset and Blanka Bíró had a goalkeepers contest as they were keeping both side’s dreams alive, but Bíró pulled crucial ones in the last five minutes of the game to push her team to Budapest
- Angela Malestein was the number one name for the Hungarians, netting a total of eight times; Sarah Bouktit scored the same number for Metz
FTC fighting spirit
When you lose at home by six and need to overcome that deficit in a packed opponents’ arena, you need nerves of steel, fighting spirit and belief. FTC had all three. After an even first half, FTC’s unassailable attack was making Metz sweat, and with the pressure high, a few players capped off their best performance.
Left back Emily Bölk scored her first goal in the 37th minute of the game and finished the night with five, three coming in the crucial span of six minutes when FTC managed to erase Metz’s six-goal lead. Right back Katrin Gitta Klujber found a solution for Metz and not only she did score five times, but she also helped her team achieve great success with nine assists. Last, but not least, Blanka Bíró stepped in between the posts, making crucial saves to keep the lead when Metz were pushing hard to make a rebound or at least secure a penalty shoot-out.