Flawless Reistad propels Esbjerg past FTC
Team Esbjerg are back in the top seat of the standings in Group A, after a commanding win against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, where both the defence and Henny Reistad shone in the second half, scoring 10 of her 13 goals.
Handing FTC their second loss of the season, Esbjerg are now primed to progress to the quarter-finals, boasting a three-point lead over the Hungarian side with four games to play in the group phase.
- backed by a superb first half from goalkeeper Rikke Poulsen, who saved 11 shots for a 46 per cent saving efficiency, Esbjerg looked to have the edge, taking a 12:7 lead with 10 minutes to go in the first half
- but FTC deployed a 6:1 run, with three goals scored by line player Anett Kisfaludy, to tie the game, 13:13, just before the break
- it looked like the Hungarian champions were onto something when they took a 21:20 lead, but a 5:0 unanswered run spurred by Henny Reistad turned the game on its head and helped Esbjerg secure their eighth win of the season
- Reistad had her best-ever outing in the DELO EHF Champions League, scoring one goal more than in the last season’s final against Brest, when she was playing for Vipers
- the Danish side remained flawless on home court, winning all five games up until this point in the competition, by an average of 7.8 goals per game
- Esbjerg are both on their largest winning run – six games – and the largest unbeaten run in the DELO EHF Champions League – eight games – as their chances to qualify to the quarter-finals received a crucial boost after this win
Amazing performances from Poulsen and Reistad help Esbjerg preserve streak
Character is forged in battle in the most difficult moments and Esbjerg proved they had plenty of it, with some newfound grit in this Match of the Week. Their superb defence was been tested by an intelligent FTC attack, yet the Danish side still took the win, thanks to two excellent individual performances from goalkeeper Rikke Poulsen and the MVP of the last season’s DELO EHF FINAL4, Henny Reistad.
Reistad, who has made all the difference this season for Esbjerg, becoming their top scorer with 55 goals, including 13 this afternoon, lifting them from mediocrity to the top place in the table, is proving once again why she is so highly regarded, especially here as she lifted Esbjerg by herself in the second half, scoring 10 times.
Jesper Jensen, Team Esbjerg head coach
On being told his team had won the group:
“No, we have not won the group, yet. We know it is a tough group. Brest, Bucuresti, Rostov-Don, FTC, us. There are so many strong teams so if we do not show up for one match we will lose. We have to perform every weekend. We are in a good position, and are proud to be in this position, but we are humble about what the next game will bring.”
Henny Reistad, Team Esbjerg centre back and player of the match with 13 goals:
“I really like the atmosphere in these games, and FTC is a really good team, so we were prepared ourselves well for the match. We were nervous but we were able to step up in first half.”
Gabor Elek, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria head coach:
“After today’s game Team Esbjerg have won the group, so congratulations to them. The group is of course not finished yet, but they took a very big step towards winning. At this point we must fight for the second place, which will be difficult.”
Anett Kisfaludy, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria line player
On defending Henny Reistad:
"As of now Henny Reistad is the best player in the world. We tried to stop her but we were only successful in the first half.”