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17.12.2012, 12:17
Montenegro take EHF EURO 2012 crown
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Double extra-time thriller ends with 34:31 win against Norway
 

Montenegro take EHF EURO 2012 crown

EHF EURO 2012 final
Norway vs. Montenegro
31:34 (24:24; 11:12)

Kombank Arena, Belgrade
16 December 2012

Europe has a new continental handball champion as Montenegro became only the fourth nation in Women's EHF EURO history to win the title.

In a breath-taking thriller which only ended after double extra-time, Montenegro finally won 34:31 against Norway who had won the four Women's EHF EURO tournaments since 2004.

One might say that the Montenegrin team was the star, but the star above all of them was goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarovic who simply performed miracles throughout the entire match.

Apart from their trouble with Barjaktarovic, Norway also had problems in their defence, especially with the two Montenegrin backs, Milena Knezevic on the left and Katarino Bulatovic on the right.

And when the Norwegians paid extra attention to those two, the Montenegrin wingers knew how to show their gratitude for the extra space they got this way.

Biljana Pavicevic on the left as well as Rasmilla Miljanic or Jovanka Radicevic on the right made use of the opportunities they got.

These factors meant that Montenegro had the upper hand for most of the first half, being two goals ahead on several occasions, and even though Norway fought back and took a 9:7 lead – mainly because left back Anja Edin, later awarded Most Valuable Player of the tournament, was sent onto the court at the middle of the half –, Montenegro were in the driving seat again at half-time, leading by one.

The 2012 Olympic silver medallists - they had lost the final in August exactly against Norway - opened the second half by increasing the gap to three goals, but Norway was never to be written off.

Their experience, their fighting spirits and Katrine Lunde Haraldsen as goalkeeper brought them back into the game, and even though Montenegro got ahead shortly before the end, Norway fought back once again, forcing the game into extra time with the score being 24-all.

What followed were two nail-biting extra times, as no team managed to decide the match within the first 10 minutes after which the score stood at 29:29.

After the first half of the second extra time the score was still even, 30:30.

Finally, in the last five minutes, before the would have gone into a penalty shootout, Montenegro seemed to have the better nerves.

Furthermore, they still had Barjaktarovic - a few more saves from her, and a couple of technical errors from Norway decided the matter at the end.

Norway's reign had been broken. Montenegro are the new European champions.

Best Player of the Match
Norway: Ida Alstad - left back
Montenegro: Milena Knezevic - left back


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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