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29.04.2015, 21:28
Belgium and Italy take two points
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REVIEWS: Belgium and Italy start their EHF EURO 2018 Qualification campaigns with away wins
 

Belgium and Italy take two points

In Group A, Belgium kicked off their EHF EURO 2018 Qualififcation campaign with a bang, recording a decisive away victory against Cyprus on Wednesday.

The second team to take to the court for their first EHF EURO 2018 match on Wednesday, Italy, also recorded an exciting win – over EURO debutants, Kosovo – in Group C.

Group A: Cyprus vs. Belgium 17:26 (8:15)

Cyprus fought hard but were no match for their Belgian counterparts, who immediately took the lead when the first whistle blew and never looked back.

Led in attack by backcourt player Roel Valkenborgh (seven goals), Belgium played a solid match that saw them control the entire sixty minutes.

Having almost doubled their hosts’ score by half-time, Belgium were able to play a low-pressure second half to take a comfortable two points that puts them second on the table behind Greece – though Greece have played one more match than Belgium at this point.

Cyprus’ star was once again centre back Julios Argyrou, who contributed 10 goals to his side’s tally.

Belgium will now host Cyprus for the second-leg match on Saturday, before facing Greece in the final qualification phase one double-header in June.

Group C: Kosovo vs. Italy 22:29 (12:17)

Kosovo may have lost all their matches in the qualification phase so far, but the newly-recognised national team kept pace with Italy fairly well when they hosted the more experienced side on Wednesday.

Italy meanwhile can celebrate their first win on the road to the EHF EURO 2018, which puts them second on the table with one less match played than group leaders, Romania.

Italy controlled the game from start to finish, taking the lead early and holding on to take a five-goal advantage into the break.

The second half was more positive for Kosovo, who managed to narrow the half-time score line and keep in touch with their opponent better than they have in previous matches.

With ten minutes remaining the score stood at 20:24, and an Italian victory was looking certain – and it was. The Italians finished with a seven-goal lead.

Enis Kabashi and Valon Dedaj stood out in attack for Kosovo with eight and seven goals respectively, while Italy’s Dean Turkovic scored eight goals.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
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