EHF Cup Final Men
EHF CUP FINAL MATCHES MEN
Vojvodina win maiden European title
A seven-goal win in the first leg of the final had given Vojvodina a good chance of winning the EHF European Cup Men, yet their rivals Nærbø IL had hoped for a strong comeback on home court.
However, the Norwegian side was unable to win the trophy for the second straight year, as Vojvodina celebrated another victory, this time 25:23, and earned their first ever continental title.
The two rivals relied mainly on defence in the first half, and while Nærbø's lead reached three goals at 10:7, Vojvodina drew level 10:10 before the break. Then, powered by Barys Pukhouski in attack, the Serbian team took a 17:15 lead in the 43rd minute, virtually ending Nærbø's hopes of an aggregate win.
A team from Serbia had not won a European club competition since 2001 when RK Jugovic Kac triumphed at the Challenge Cup. So, Vojvodina not only claimed their maiden continental title but ended a 22-year-long wait for Serbian handball.
Pukhouski, who was Vojvodina's top scorer with seven goals, won the third-tier European club competition for the second time in his career after a triumph at the Challenge Cup with SKA Minsk in 2013, while their goalkeeper Fran Lucin recorded 11 saves for a 32 per cent save rate, also contributing to the team's success.
Nærbø's ultimately failed bid was nonetheless aided by right wing Theodor Svensgård; he was their top scorer in the game, netting eight times.
Though the victory was duly celebrated, this title was not the ultimate dream for the ambitious club from Novi Sad, who have big plans for the future. In the next few years, Vojvodina are hoping to play in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League and, so far, they are well on the way to that goal, participating in the group matches of the EHF European League Men in 2023/24.
EHF Cup Final Women
EHF CUP FINAL MATCHES WOMEN
Antalya Konyaalti BSK win first European trophy for Türkiye
Turkish side Antalya Konyaalti BSK became their nation’s first winners of a European trophy during the 2022/23 season.
Following a six-goal defeat in the first leg at their Spanish rivals Club Balonmán Atlético Guardes, Antalya Konyaalti BSK needed a strong comeback, and they got it; a 33:20 victory at home which secured them the EHF European Cup Women title.
Antalya began strongly, opening a 6:2 lead by minute nine and never looked back, leading by nine goals at half-time, with their goalkeeper Sevilay Öcal Imamoglu, to thank. She stood like a wall, boasting a 57 percent efficiency (eight saves) in the first half alone. Overall, she stopped 12 balls for a 42.6 percent save rate
Atlético were unable to hit back after the restart, as Antalya's lead reached double digits at 19:9 in the 37th minute, by which point they were well on course to score almost twice as many goals as in the first leg – 33 compared to 17. The biggest contributor to that total was Sanja Premovic who scored nine goals.
Sandra Santiago, Atlético’s best scorer in the competition, added seven goals to her tally and ended the season with 69 strikes.
But the day belonged to the team from Antalya, who wrote history as they became the first ever Turkish winners of any European club competition.
In the past, women's teams from Türkiye had reached the final of the EHF Challenge Cup – the predecessor of the EHF European Cup Women – three times, but lost each time. Muratpasa Belediyesi BSK were defeated by French sides Mios Biganos and H.A.C.Handball in 2011 and 2012, respectively, while Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK came up short against Spain's Rocasa Gran Canaria in 2016.
In 2023, Konyaalti, coached by Birol Ünsal, managed to win the trophy in their debut European season. After beating Greece’s A.E.S.H.Pylea, HC Galychanka Lviv from Ukraine, Portugal’s Sport Lisboa e Benfica, fellow Turks Izmir BSB SK and Slovakian side MKS IUVENTA Michalovce in the previous rounds, Antalya saw off Atlético in the final to complete their fairytale.