Writing with AFP

Updated 05/29/2021 at 7:41 p.m. –
Posted on 05/29/2021 at 7:35 p.m.

Qualified for the final of the Women’s Champions League, the handball players of Brest can dream of crowning Sunday in Budapest.

At the end of the suspense and the penalty shootout, the handball players from Brest achieved a huge feat by eliminating the Hungarians from Györ on Saturday to reach the final of the Champions League for the first time. Sunday (6:00 p.m.) in Budapest, Laurent Bezeau’s players will face the Norwegians of Kristiansand, poster of the second semi-final, to try to secure the first European coronation of a French women’s handball club. They will thus try to join Montpellier, the only men’s hand club to have won the C1 (2003, 2018).

In Final 4, set up since 2014 for the ladies, Györ had lost only once in ten matches, in the final in 2016 against Bucharest. With its armada of international stars, like the Norwegian Stine Oftedal, the Hungarian team remained on three consecutive European titles (2017, 2018, 2019). Saturday, they fell on an incredible team of Brest, very well in place in defense.

In an extremely closed match, Coralie Lassource’s teammates went through all the emotions: they first created the first significant gap in the game and led by four goals in the first period (9-5) and at the start of the second period. (15-11, 39th). Before experiencing a huge air gap of almost a quarter of an hour during which Györ came back to the front. “Perhaps we wanted to keep this lead and this result a little too much. I think we made mistakes for that reason, ”said Brest Serbian pivot Sladjana Pop-Lazic.

Györ, supported by more than 2,500 spectators, thought he had won on an Oftedal achievement (20-18, 58th), but it was without counting on the relentlessness of the Brest women.

Djurdjina Jaukovic snatched the equalizer (20-20) at the last second. Still tied after the two five-minute periods, it was during a penalty shoot-out that the match was played out. And goalkeeper Cléopâtre Darleux, impressive with 12 saves during the 70 minutes of the match, was once again decisive, stopping the shot of Estelle Nze Minko, one of Györ’s four French internationals. “It’s something prepared. This morning, I told myself that it could very well be played on penalties. I imagined who could shoot. From the moment I decide who could shoot, we have to convince the players, ”said Brest coach Laurent Bezeau after the meeting. “Penalties are really nerves. We had a lot of success, because Györ immediately missed ”, after a failure of the Slovenian BBH, Ana Gros at the start of the session.

And it was finally Isabelle Gullden who scored the winning goal. The loud celebration of the Brest players covered the silence of the Papp-Laszlo Arena in Budapest, which did not expect such an outcome. Laurent Bezeau had said it before arriving in Budapest and repeated it on Saturday after the semi-final. “It can’t be otherwise, we came here to win so we’re going to win!” “We’re in a fantastic dynamic and we’ve built up a lot of confidence this season. We wanted this match to end the season with the Champions League final. I am very happy with my players but I am already preparing for the final, ”said the BBH technician. After winning the Coupe de France two weeks ago against Nantes, then the French championship against Metz six days ago, here are the Brestoises able to achieve a historic treble, and leave their mark in the history of hand French.