WHC Vardar SCBT took one point from the derby match of round 2 of EHF Champions League against Larvik, European runner-up in the last years women’s competition, in Skopje. In the game for the top spot of Group D in the Champions League, Vardar SCBT and Larvik  played a draw 27:27 (12:15).In a game with many twists and oscillations the hosts had one goal lead 15 seconds before the end,but Norwegians played wisely and used their last attack to equalize with 4 seconds to the final whistle.They saved a point after they had  five goals advantage in the middle of the second half.

The match began with  4-0 series for Larvik  in the first five minutes, and a lot of attack mistakes for Vardar. Ana Djokic interrupted the series with the first goal for the home team in 7th minute for 1:4. Finally the hosts consolidated their and through Jovanka Radichevic and her first goal in 14th minute equalized 6:6, and in the next attack Allison Pineau took the first lead for the Macedonian champion 7-6. But a series of technical errors and omissions in the defense of the home team left space for the guests quickly to return into the lead and to complete the first part with three goals advantage (12:15).

However, the lead was no guarantee for a peaceful continuation of the game. Vardar again managed to close the gap and again, with two goals of Allison Pineau and one of Maya Zebic, coach Kastratovic players equaled to 15:15 (33th minute). But the next minutes, changed the balance of forces on the ground. Larvik  imposed their recognizable pace and Nora Merck was the creator of the new leadership of with the highest five goals difference in 41th minute – 17:22.

The return of captain Ina Suslina at the goal, and surprise move of Indira Kastratović to put the middle back Biljana Crvenkovska at right back position to replace  Tatiana Hmirova, made a new twist in the match. Vardar in the next eight minutes made a series  for new equalization 23:23 and new uncertainty in the last ten minutes of the match. In  56th minute with  the goal of Andrea Lekic, Vardar SCBT had two goals difference 26:24. Suslina saved a few key balls, but on the opposite side the hosts missed several clear chances to increase the advantage and ensure victory. At the last minute, Nora Merck fast goal equalized to 26:26, Zebic in the next attack scored from the 7-meters line 27:26. Merck with her ninth goal set the final score 27:27 and bring point for Larvik.

Maja Zebic seven and Jovanka Radichevic with six goals were the most effective in Vardar SCBT. At Larvik, Nora Merck was top scorer with nine goals .

Indira Kastratović (coach WHC Vardar SCBT):

We should not regret that we did not took the two points and be happy that we have a drew, after five goals negative against teams such as Larvik. We had a bad start with large fluctuations. And I am glad that against teams like Larvik we managed to return to the game and took a point at the end. There are still large fluctuations in our game, but we started to look like a team. I congratulate Larvik and my girls for winning point. The next game in the Champions League we are hosting the team of Podravka and hopefully will learn from today’s mistakes and play a lot safer.

Biljana Crvenkovski (WHC Vardar SCBT) :

We had two goals lead at the finish line and I’m sorry we did not win two points of the match. But as it started off, I think the end we got a good point and drew against Larvik. For us it is important that match after match we play better.

Gustav Ole Gjekstad (coach Larvik):

Most of the match Larvik was in the lead, but finally won the only point. Overall I am pleased with the tour in Skopje, it could have been better, or worse for us. The draw puts us in a position we and Vardar to have leadership position in the group.

Carolyn Breivang (Larvik):

I am glad that we are back in Macedonia, after playing here at Euro 2008, and has fond memories of this room. I agree with the coach that this was a difficult match and equalized. To me Vardar is a team with good individuals, although we were much ahead, in the end we came in a situation to save point.

WHC VARDAR SCBT – Larvik 27:27 (12:15)

SC Boris Trajkovski. Referee: Ivan Kakador and Euriko Nicolaou (PT). Delegate: Marek Shine (PT).

WHC VARDAR SCBT: Leynaud (5 Def.) Suslina (8 Def. 1 VII.) Kostjukova, Radichevic 6, Djokic 2, Pineau 4, Nikolic, Dembele 1, Fernandez 2, Zebic 7 (3), Klikovac, Crvenkovska, Hmirova 1, Lekic 4, Lojpur, Dmitrovic.

Coaching: Indira Kastratovic

LARVIK: Mörk 9,Blanco 6, Koren Riegelhuth 5, Hammerseng-Edin 4, Breivang 2, Mörk 1, Bjaaland, Hammerseng-Edin, Hasanic, Johansen, Kristiansen, Loke, Rantala, Stange, Sulland.