|23.04.2007, 15:00||◄ last page|
Hypo misses an overtime 7-meter throw and Lada clinches the Champions League final.
Nail-biting Thriller with Happy Ending for LADA
History repeats itself. As in the men’s CL semi-final, where Valladolid faced Flensburg, a last second, 7-meter throw decided which team would go into a final. Hypo’s left winger Alina Marin threw the decisive penalty, but Lada’s Maria Sidorova stopped it, and thereby sent her team into the final of the Champions League.
The decisive match started according to the game plan of the Russians. Gumyanov’s team came up with a very strong defence and led throughout the first 20 minutes by a 1 or 2 goal margin. Hypo had to fight back every time, but thanks to Rotis’ goals (she scored ten times) Zinglersen’s team could always equalise, (21st min. 10-10). The remarkable fast attacking of Lada bore fruit and Marennikova and Gritsina scored many times through fast breaks. However, the home team took advantage of two-minute penalties for Postnova and Bliznova, and Lada finished the first half with their advantage reduced to just a single goal (16-15).
The second half started in similar vein to the first, as Lada kept scoring goals, and Hypo kept coming back to equalise. From the 35th minute, Hypo had many attacks from which they should have taken the lead, but they didn’t have too much luck in front of goal. The home team led for the first time in the 46th minute when playmaker Oh scored in spectacular fashion. Having gained the lead, the Austrians piled on the pressure and there was a tense struggle for every goal. After Hypo went three goals ahead, Alexey Gumyanov called a timeout, and shortly afterwards, Postnova scored her 9th goal. Two 7-meter goals by Alina Marin, and a fast-break by Larica Belina Miguel made the score 30-26, giving hope to the home supporters - Hypo was back.
Although Prokop’s team increased the lead to five, Lada’s magnificent Postnova scored again. The last two minutes were of high drama, with Postnova and Rotis scoring again. With just 26 seconds to play, Lada had the ball. However, the Russians failed on their attack, and on the ensuing fast-break, Muravieva made a foul and received a suspension. Hypo’s unfortunate Alina Marin took the fateful penalty throw.
Lada Togliatti progressed to a CL final for the first time in their history, and they will face Slagelse.
TEXT: Márk Hegedüs, Time Out Magazin (www.timeoutmag.com)