14 saves from Toft lift Brest past Esbjerg
There are currently only two unbeaten sides in group A of the DELO EHF Champions League this season after Brest Bretagne Handball secured a 26:23 win against Team Esbjerg.
- with former Esbjerg goalkeeper Sandra Toft in fine form, saving nine shots in the first half, Brest jumped to a 13:9 lead at the break, limiting the Danish side to a meagre 36 per cent attacking efficiency
- Esbjerg looked to mount a comeback with a 4:1 start of the second half, only for Brest to answer with their own 5:0 unanswered run, highlighted by Toft’s four saves, including two against penalties from Henny Reistad and Mette Tranborg
- going all-in in attack, including 7-on-6, had a boomerang effect for Esbjerg, who could only improve to a 44 per cent attacking efficiency, only to reduce the gap in the end to three goals
- the Danish side are slowly building a Brest-complex, having lost all three games played in the last two seasons against the French champions
- Brest jumped to third place in the standings, with two points, tying Esbjerg, who are fifth and have an inferior goal difference
Toft stars once again for Brest
After losing Ana Gros and Isabelle Gulldén this summer, Brest Bretagne might not have the firepower they boasted last season, but they found a new team spirit and a gritty defence, spearheaded by Danish goalkeeper Sandra Toft.
Toft, who played for Team Esbjerg between 2017 and 2019, made zero saves from nine shots faced in their first game against Rostov-Don, but she bounced back superbly with a 14-save game against her former team.
Toft's 38.8 per cent save efficiency basically gift-wrapped the win for Brest Bretagne Handball. With more performances like that, the French champions will be tough to beat, especially at home, in front of a raucous public.
We're very happy. It's our first Champions League victory this season. We have seen a lot of changes during the summer and we try to be better every day. We were strong in defence today. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are on the right track.