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Handball: the Brest women qualify for the Champions League final for the first time

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On Sunday, in the final, the handballers of Brest will face either the Russians of CSKA Moscow or the Norwegians of Kristiansand.

Brest’s women handballers qualified for the Champions League final for the first time by beating three-time defending champions Gyor of Hungary in a penalty shootout (4-2, 23-23 after extra time) on Saturday, May 29 in Budapest.

Brest, the first French women’s club to reach the final of the C1, will face either the Russians of CSKA Moscow or the Norwegians of Kristiansand in the final on Sunday.

By eliminating the great favorite, Gyor, which sees its series of 55 matches without defeat in C1 interrupted, Brest Bretagne Handball can dream of becoming the first French women’s club to lift the most coveted trophy, and thus join Montpellier, the only club in France European champion in the men’s category (in 2003 and 2018).

In an extremely close game, the Brest team went through all the emotions: they first created the first important gap of the game, led by four goals in the first half (9-5) before putting the game back on track at the beginning of the second half (15-11, 39th), then they experienced a huge gap of almost 15 minutes, during which Gyor went back ahead.

“Maybe we wanted to hold that lead and that result a little too much. I think we made mistakes for that reason,” said Brest’s Serbian pivot Sladjana Pop-Lazic.

Gyor, supported by more than 2,500 spectators, thought they had won the game with a goal from Stine Bredal Oftedal, (20-18, 58th), but the Brest team was relentless.

Djurdjina Jaukovic got the equalizer (20-20) at the last second. Still tied after the two periods of five minutes of overtime, it is during a penalty shootout that the game was played. And goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux, impressive with twelve saves over the course of the seventy minutes of the game, was once again decisive, stopping the shot of Estelle Nze Minko, one of Gyor’s four French internationals.

“It’s something I prepared for. This morning, I said to myself that it could very well be a penalty shootout. I imagined who could shoot. From the moment I decide who can shoot, I have to convince the players,” said Brest coach Laurent Bezeau after the game. “Penalties are really nerve-wracking. We had a lot of success [after a miss by BBH’s Slovenian Ana Gros early in the session], because Gyor missed immediately [after]. ”

And in the end it was Isabelle Gulldén who scored the winning goal. The noisy celebration of the Brest players covered the silence of the Papp-Laszlo Sportaréna of Budapest, which did not expect such an outcome.

After winning the French Cup two weeks ago against Nantes, then the French championship against Metz six days ago, here are the Brest players in a position to realize a historical triple, and to leave their mark in the history of French handball.

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