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09.01.2012, 12:58
Serbia edges FYR Macedonia in Smederevo
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Successful dress rehearsal prior to the EHF EURO 2012.
 

Serbia edges FYR Macedonia in Smederevo

The warm-up encounter between EHF EURO 2012 hosts Serbia and fellow former Yugoslavs FYR Macedonia had all the earmarks of a competitive fixture as the Serbians celebrated a narrow 26:23 win over their neighbours on Sunday.

Playing in front of a jam-packed hall in Smederevo, some 40 kilometres south of Belgrade, Serbia made the brighter start as some of its second-choice players made the most of their time on the court.

Stalwarts Momir Ilic and Marko Vujin scored five of Serbia’s six opening goals but it was pivot Bojan Beljanski, preferred to the more experienced Alem Toskic, who impressed with three first-half goals which helped Serbia take a 12:7 lead in the closing stages of the opening period.

Goalkeeper Darko Stanic, who plays his club handball for FYR Macedonian side Metalurg Skopje, was also in fine form and saved seven shots as his league rivals and team-mates struggled to beat him between the posts.

Having taken a 14:10 lead into the dressing room, Serbia took its foot of the gas pedal and FYR Macedonia cut the deficit to just one goal in the closing stages of the match, when its top scorer Kiril Lazarov made it 23:22 with just five minutes left on the clock and forced a dramatic finale.

Roared on by the passionate home crowd, Serbia was able to come out on top after veteran Dalibor Cutura netted his third goal to cap a fine individual performance and Ilic made sure the European Championship hosts gave themselves a confidence boost ahead of the eagerly-awaited tournament.

Ilic finished as Serbia’s top scorer with six goals, Vujin scored four while Cutura, Beljanski and winger Ivan Nikcevic added three each.

"We had a good game which also revealed what we are not doing right and where we need to improve," Serbia coach Veselin Vukovic said after the match.

"We missed a lot of sitters and that’s something we need to look at, we have one more warm-up game against the Czechs to put things right and make a decision what our EHF EURO 2012 squad will be," he added.

Vujin was pleased with the result and Serbia’s effort. "It was very important to win the match and we looked much better than we did in the 25:24 defeat by Romania in Novi Sad a few days ago. FYR Macedonia is a better team than Romania and we only struggled in the second half here because the coach tried out several experimental formations in defence. The fans here in Smederevo created a fantastic atmosphere and we would love to see them in Belgrade for our Preliminary Round Group A games," Vujin said.

FYR Macedonia’s top player Kiril Lazarov said playing against Serbia was the perfect dress rehearsal for the real thing. "We saw where we stand against a top quality team, packed with outstanding individuals who ply their trade for some of Europe’s best clubs," he pointed out, while FYR Macedonian coach Stanko Sundovski added: 

"I congratulate Serbia, we have a number of niggling injuries but we have another few days to recuperate and be 100 percent ready for our Preliminary Round rivals in Nis.


Serbia is in Group A with Poland, Denmark and Slovakia while FYR Macedonia is in Group B alongside Germany, Sweden and Czech Republic.

Further information

Download the Official EHF EURO 2012 Playing Schedule (pdf)

Buy your EHF EURO 2012 tickets HERE.

Ticketing is managed by the Serbian Organising Committees. Should you need further assistance for buying your tickets, please contact via email: tickets@rss.org.rs

Find more information on the tournament on the official website www.ehf-euro.com/SRB2012/

Join the growing community of fans of the event on Facebook www.facebook.com/SRB2012


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic
 
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