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26.03.2014, 20:28
Russia and Montenegro make a huge step towards final tournament
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ROUND REVIEW: In the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification four-time world champions, Russia, beat FYR Macedonia, while the EHF EURO 2012 champions, Montenegro, take a hotly-contested victory at Czech Republic.
 

Russia and Montenegro make a huge step towards final tournament

Russia are close to book their ticket to the Women’s EHF EURO after their 36:23 win against FYR Macedonia in Round 3 of the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 Qualification over FYR Macedonia.

A draw in Round 4 in the reverse fixture in Skopje is already enough to clinch the berth. In the second match on Wednesday afternoon Montenegro were the lucky winners at Czech Republic and kept their record clear with a third win in their third match.

Group 3: Czech Republic vs. Montenegro 23:24 (10:11)

Third match, third win – and now Montenegro have more than one hand at the ticket to Hungary and Croatia.

Hosts Czech Republic were defeated for the first time in this qualification as they eventually left the court with a 23:24 loss, but for the entire match they stood strong against the reigning EHF EURO champions.

But the first and only lead of the Czech team was their 1:0, as Montenegro forged ahead early to 8:3, while the Czechs missed too many chances.

However, as the team of coach Jan Basny improved in defence, the defending EHF EURO champions started lacking ideas in attack as the match progressed. In particular Montenegro's top star Katarina Bulatovic had a day to forget, scoring only twice from eleven attempts.

So Czech Republic got within just one goal at the break and kept the result on the edge until the score of 18:18 in minute.

In a hectic final stage, Montenegro were luckier when it came and got ahead again 23:19.

At the latest when Radmila Petrovic scored her sixth goal (best scorer together with Jovanka Radicevic) to make it 24:21 the match was decided, and the Czech catch-up chase came too late.

Best scorer for the hosts was Iveta Luzumova with seven goals.

Group 7: Russia vs. FYR Macedonia 36:23 (18:12)

Russia are on their way to the final tournament in Hungary and Croatia. Courtesy of their second win in their third match the gate to the EHF EURO is open.

Ekaterina Ilina was the best scorer in the four-time world champions' squad, while Zorica Despodovska and Elena Gjorgjijevska netted six times each for the chanceless Macedonian team, who do not need only a clear improvement, but a small miracle to keep their hopes alive for an EHF EURO ticket.

Nearly all Russian court players eventually put their name on the scorer list, a tell-tale sign of well-rehearsed team performance.

After only ten minutes Russia were ahead by five goals at 8:3 and they kept this distance until the break despite an intermediate Macedonian improvement.

FYR Macedonia remained on this five-goal backlog until the score stood at 17:22, then the 'Russian machine' accelerated and only needed eight minutes to gain its first double-figured lead at 29:19, a score when the match was – even before it was over – decided in its favour.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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