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23.10.2013, 20:56
The champions win in convincing fashion
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ROUND REVIEW: EHF EURO record champions, Norway, and the defending champions, Montenegro, take home victories in the first round of the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification
 

The champions win in convincing fashion

EHF EURO record champions, Norway, and the defending EHF EURO champions, Montenegro, were among the first teams taking to the court in first round of the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification.

And they took off to a flying start with both teams taking home victories. Montenegro beat Poland 25:21 on home court, while Norway beat Romania away 25:23.

In the other two matches that threw off on early Wednesday evening Serbia beat Switzerland 32:21 and Czech Republic beat Portugal 35:20.

Group 3: Montenegro vs. Poland 25:21 (11:11)

The final result looks closer than the match and especially the second half actually was.

Eleven goals of the outstanding Katarina Bulatovic paved the way for the defending champions to the win in their opening qualification match.

Poland showed a brilliant performance, but could not withstand the pressure in particular in the crucial stages of the second half.

Their top scorer was Kinga Grzyb with six goals.

The match was off to even start with both teams not giving way until the score stood at 7:7.

Then Poland forged ahead to 10:7 and managed to keep that lead until 11:10 with only seconds left until half-time.

But then Montenegro started fighting back and Poland couldn't weather the storm. By scoring six straight goals, including four strikes from Bulatovic, they took control of the game.

The match was decided at the latest when youngster Milena Knezevic scored to make it 21:13.

Poland reduced the gap to only four goals, but did not really threaten the Montenegrin victory.

Group 3: Czech Republic vs. Portugal 35:20 (17:8)

Czech Republic continued where they had finished in the European play-offs for the World Championship 2013 against Iceland in June – with a clear win.

The victory was literally secured after just twelve minutes, when the hosts were ahead 10:1 courtesy of their counter attacks and their solid defence.

Portugal needed 39 minutes to score their tenth goal toreduce the gap to 22:10.

But the Czech Republic's players were still hungry for more: They increased the gap to 15 goals at 29:14 – and kept this distance until the end.

Best scorers were Ramona Cherkova with six goals for the hosts and Neuza Valente who scored four times for Portugal.

Group 5: Serbia vs. Switzerland 32:21 (15:6)

Eleven very strong Serbian minutes brought an early decision in this eventually one-sided opening match of Group 5.

Switzerland kept the match open until the 19th minute when then score stood at 9:6 in favour of Serbia, but they didn't score until half-time and Serbia powered away to 15:6.

Switzerland improved after the break, so it took the hosts 15 minutes to increase the gap for the first time to a double-digit at 23:13.

Even though the game was decided before, both teams did not slow down until the final whistle.

Marija Lojgun was the best Serbian scorer with eight goals. Frey, Dinkel and Weigelt scored four goals each for Switzerland.

Group 6: Romania vs. Norway 23:25 (10:11)

The Norwegian victory against Romania was hotly contested but in the end a deserved one.

However, the Scandinavian squad had to give all they had until the final whistle in Oradea in order to hold down the bravely fighting Romanians.

Even though the hosts were never in the lead after they had been ahead 2:1 in the starting period, the match was on the edge until the final stages.

Norway were stronger in defence and more efficient in attack, but until the 22:22 in the 57th minute, everything was possible for Romania, who had at one point been trailing 13:16 in the second half.

In the end the goals of top scorer Karoline Dyhre Breivang, who scored with six from seven shots, were the key to the Norwegian away win.

Best Romanian scorer was Luciana Marin with five goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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