(Esbjerg-Vipers Kristiansand 27–27) Vipers was just a post shot from the first loss of the year. The Champions League drama ended with a point against Marit Malm Frafjord’s injured Esbjerg in Denmark.
Esbjerg – without Marit Røsberg Jacobsen and Vilde Ingstad – fielded only 10 players. Vipers had a clear initiative in the middle of the second half, but failed to count for much greater width in the team.
Led by Malm Frafjord, the Danish champions fought back in the match.
– World class, said Viasat’s commentator Karoline Dyhre Breivang about the 36-year-old’s defensive game. Malm Frafjord recently made a new comeback on the national team and can become a defensive key player during the European Championships in December.
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Forward on the field, Kristine Breistøl marked about as strongly for Esbjerg. She submitted a good European Championship application with seven goals of international class.
Vipers had the chance to secure the victory in the last minute, but a mistake from Nora Mørk 20 seconds before the end gave Esbjerg one last chance. It ended with a post shot from Sonja Frey three seconds before the match was over.
Thus, the Vipers take one point against an Esbjerg they lost two games against in the Champions League last season.
Esbjerg went tough and led 4-1 early, led by a willing Breistøl. Vipers started passively, but the intensity increased in the first half.
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Katrine Lunde delivered good old class with nine saves in the first half.
– Fantastic rescue, Viasat’s expert Dyhre Breivang thought after she took a 100 percent chance from Marit Malm Frafjord. Towards the end of the drama, Lunde was replaced by Swedish Evelina Eriksson.
Vipers got into the fight. Nora Mørk was central in the game with her five goal-scoring passes before the break, but struggled more with the shots against Esbjerg goalkeeper Rikke Poulsen.
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The Czech right wing Jana Knedlíková has had a very effective entry into the Vipers. Well assisted by Mørk, she scored on four of five shots before the break. Knedlíková made a strong contribution to 12-12 at the break.
In the second half, Malin Aune came in after the knee injury and scored three new goals from the right wing. Linn Jørum Sulland also stood out with four goals. Marta Tomac did deliver a strong finish and gave the Vipers 26-27 two minutes before the end.
It did not last in the end, but the Vipers have still not lost in 12 games in the Champions League, Norwegian series and cup this autumn.