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13.09.2008, 18:00◄ last page     

Two goals decided the Russian derby: Zvezda defeat Volgograd.

Zvezda vs Hypo again!

The all-Russian semi-final gave answer to interesting questions. First of all, how the CL title holders can cope without some of their best players who left the team after the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Kareeva and Romenskaya retired from professional handball. Saidova left the team, currently without a contract, her future is yet unsure. And the biggest star of the team, Irina Poltoratskaya chose to stop for a month and make a decision about her career later.

In a nutshell, a changing Zvezda met a motivated, young Dinamo Volgograd.

The first half showed this difference very well. The EHF Cup winners showed a quick game and quickly took the lead. Khmyrova and Levina were scoring, while goalkeeper Sedoykina gave confidence to the team. It was Polenova alone to keep Zvezda in the game.

As it was the case in the first semi-final, the 10-minute break brought change to this game too. After a 12-15 at halftime, Zvezda dominated the second half. It was mainly due to their outstanding defence that they could win the game.

Volgograd scored only 6 goals in 30 minutes and the more experienced team – with the help of an enthusiastic fan club – took back the lead. The endgame was not even close. The 23rd goal of Zvezda by Vyakhireva decided the matter already in the 27th minute.

The end was 23-21, Zvezda will meet Hypo again. The CL final repeats itself on Sunday…

Comments after the game

Victor Ryabykh (coach, Volgograd): I´m satisfied with the team. We created as many chances in the second half as we did in the first half when we still had the lead, but Suslina did much better. We are 80% ready for the new season, but I have to admit that our main objective will be the qualification games in Norway.

Olga Levina (Volgograd): It is difficult to play against such good and physically strong players. We have to beat them in speed, but this time we had no more power by the end of the match.

Evgeni Trefilov (Zvenigorod Zvezda): We made 23 technical mistakes, 9 out of them one player alone. Usually, the whole team makes nine... The goalkeepers also played badly in the first half, but Suslina improved for the second and also our counter-attacks were more efficient.

TEXT: Balazs Nemcsik reporting from Chekhov

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