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01.12.2014, 16:00
Issues to be addressed for Montenegro after two defeats
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REVIEW: EHF EURO 2014 co-hosts Croatia beat 2012 champions Montenegro twice over the weekend
 

Issues to be addressed for Montenegro after two defeats

Friendly matches ahead of big events have not been the norm for Montenegro since Dragan Adzic took charge of the national team.

His team did not require tune-up tests ahead of their silver medal performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, their gold medal campaign at the Women's EHF EURO 2012, or their 11th-place finish at the World Championship 2013.

But Adzic decided that training sessions alone were not enough to prepare his side for the upcoming EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia, and scheduled two tests against Croatian.

It appears he was right to do so too, as both games in Varazdin finished in defeat for the reigning European champions, the first by 28:19 (11:7), and 27:26 (14:10) in the second.

Andrea Penezic led Croatia with eight goals in the first meeting as Vesna Milanovic-Litre and Maja Zebic each added four.

Captain Marija Jovanovic was Montenegro’s top scorer with four while Milena Knezević and Biljana Pavicevic both scored three times.

Pavicevic doubled her tally in the second game as Jovanka Radicevic paced Montenegro with seven goals, but once again Penezic was pivotal, finishing with 10 goals while Lidija Horvat added another five for the hosts.

The defeats left Montenegro right back Katarina Bulatovic and her teammates with plenty to think about.

"We made too many mistakes in the first match," said Bulatovic.

"I don’t remember when we last made so many mistakes. It was too much even for domestic league. But I think it's a good thing we have had the opportunity to see all our weaknesses, so we have a chance to correct them for EHF EURO."

Bulatovic played just half of the first game because of an ankle problem while Majda Mehmedovic played no part in either contest due to injury.

Adzic was glad to have faced such a test and insists his side will look better with Bulatovic and Mehmedovic back in the line-up.

He said: "We played better in the second game. I am glad that my colleague Canjuga (Vladimir, Croatia coach) played with the strongest team, so that these two games were good tests as we've tried everything we could.

"I'm convinced that we will be at the desired level for the opening game with Serbia.”

Canjuga content

Croatia continued their fine record against Montenegro, particularly in friendly games, having also won both meetings in Bar, back in March 2013.

Croatia eliminated Montenegro in an EHF EURO 2008 Play-off too and recorded victories at the EHF EURO 2010 in Denmark and the Olympic Games in 2012.

Croatia coach Canjuga was pleased with the manner in which his team maintained that form against a formidable opponent.

He said: "The goalkeepers were good, I gave a chance to all the players. I am happy for young Camila Micijevic, who proved to be a great reinforcement.

"There is still a week of preparation, we will be focused more on tactics, as we still have problems when we have a player more on the field than the opponent.

"Also, we must fix our shooting and then we'll be ready for the first game against Sweden (on 8 December)."

Croatia captain Miranda Tatari added: “We are pleased with how we played, the coach tried some variations in the defence, changing players and all proved to be good.

"We still have some work to do on counter attacks, because we need to take advantage of good defence and score more easy goals.

"The matches against Montenegro were very important and the results are important for extra confidence before the start of the European Championship."


TEXT: Saša Jončić / jh / ts
 
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