After a match of twists and turns, Ferencvaros claimed a single-goal win in UVSE’s home in the first leg of the Euro Cup Women final. They scored the winner 46 seconds from time, but only the second game on Wednesday will decide which team from Budapest shall lift the trophy.
Euro Cup Women Final, 1st leg: UVSE Budapest (HUN) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 8-9
2nd leg: 29 March
After almost half a century, the 93-year-old indoor pool of the world-famous Alfred Hajos Complex at the Margaret Island hosted a European cup final again. Back in the 70s, Hungary’s top men’s clubs chased continental silverware here – now two female sides, both from Budapest, clashed for the Euro Cup Women trophy. Though Ferencvaros were considered the favourites as they held a commanding 4-0 lead in the season’s head-to-head against their arch-rival, the match never saw them dominating.
In the opening eight minutes the hosts netted two goals from extras while Ferencvaros responded from action, so it was all even at 2-2. FTC had a better spell in the first half of the second, a fine man-up play and a penalty gave them a 2-4 lead while UVSE needed almost four minutes to add another goal. After missed woman-ups at both ends, Greta Gurisatti’s blast reset the two-goal gap, but Rozalia Irmes found the back of the net three seconds before the middle break to make it 4-5.
Again, the home side went through some struggling early in the third, missed a penalty and 6 on 5, while Dora Leimeter’s fine lob doubled FTC’s lead once more. Seasoned veteran Gabriella Szucs stepped up in UVSE’s next extra and delivered a pinpoint shot, and two minutes later Natasa Rybanska also had a great finish from a nice set-up for 6-6. At this phase FTC lost some composure in front, they were unable to put the ball away and needed some fine defending in a woman-down to prevent their rival from taking the lead late in this period.
Then, after another wasted 6 on 5, they could finally score from the following one, to halt their scoreless run after 6:48 minutes. Still, in 21 seconds UVSE levelled again at 7-7, from an extra. Despite they couldn’t make the next one, soon Panna Szegedi converted a penalty for 8-7, and UVSE led for the first time since 1-0. Not for long, though, as luck, or rather millimetres took the visiting team’s side – Anna Illes-Simon’s shot barely crossed the virtual line, but the refs called it a goal (there is no VAR in the Euro Cup). Then UVSE goalie Alda Magyari came up with a big save in a woman-down inside the last minute, again, the ball just barely touched the rope for a corner, and FTC managed to score from the second attempt, Dalma Domsodi sent it home from close after a fine assist with 46 seconds from time. The hosts had a last shot, this time the ball hit the crossbar, bounced on the line but never crossed it, so Ferencvaros kept the single-goal advantage for the return leg.