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02.05.2015, 20:17
Last-minute Latvian comeback shocks Slovakia
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ROUND REVIEW 2: Czech Republic took another two points against Switzerland, while Latvia trailed at half-time only to claim a win over Slovakia as the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification continued on Saturday
 

Last-minute Latvian comeback shocks Slovakia

In Group 3 in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, Slovakia and Latvia met in what was a completely different match than the one seen between the two sides on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Latvia played a strong game to finish with a seven-goal victory. But on Saturday, it was Slovakia’s turn to dominate – until a late surge from Latvia crushed Slovakia’s hopes of taking their first win.

In Group 6, Czech Republic took another two points against Switzerland – just as they did in the round three match on Wednesday.

They are now ranked second in Group 6 with five points overall, while Latvia are also ranked second in Group 3, equal on points with Slovenia, but might fall back to third in case of a Slovenian draw or win against Sweden on Sunday.

Group 3: Slovakia vs. Latvia 22:23 (16:10)

Slovakia were left in shock after dominating almost the entire sixty minutes against Latvia on Saturday, only to have the victory ripped from within their grasp inside the last five minutes.

Though Latvia scored first, Slovakia took the lead in the opening minutes and held it. Quickly building a solid lead, the hosts were ahead by six goals (8:2) after just ten minutes of play.

During the first half Latvia could not seem to come any closer than three goals. Slovakia therefore managed to extend their lead further before half-time, taking an ominous six-goal advantage into the break.

When the match resumed Latvia struck back with renewed energy.

With 15 minutes remaining Slovakia still held a four-goal lead (19:15), but a scoring drought from the hosts allowed the visitors to come back with a vengeance.

Slovakia failed to score for more than ten minutes, and Latvia launched an assault that saw them level the score in the 53rd.

A one-for-one scoring battle followed as the two sides raced toward the final whistle.

A penalty goal from Latvia’s standout of the match, Janis Pavlovics (nine goals) in the 58th minute saw the guests take the lead at a critical point (21:22).

Slovakia scored an equaliser, but Ingars Dude answered, scoring the game-winning goal with one minute left on the clock.

Group 6: Czech Republic vs. Switzerland 29:25 (15:13)

The odds were against Switzerland coming into Saturday’s match against Czech Republic.

Taking to the court without Andre Schmid, who suffered a concussion in their round three match, meant the visitors were not at full strength.

Czech Republic meanwhile, were still without their star Filip Jicha.

When the match began Czech Republic immediately took the lead, scoring the first two goals before Switzerland joined them on the score board.

The hosts were led spectacularly by Ondrej Zdrahala (nine goals) in attack. Zdrahala scored seven goals at 100 per cent in the first half alone.

Czech Republic were consistently ahead by three to five goals through the first 30 minutes, but Switzerland fought back to reduce the margin to two by half-time (15:13).

A series of missed shots from the Swiss in the first ten minutes of the second half meant Czech Republic were able to pull away to their five-goal lead again.

With 15 minutes left the hosts held a four-goal lead (22:18).

Two two-minute suspensions for Switzerland inside the last ten minutes, when Czech Republic were ahead by three (26:23), sealed the guests’ fate.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
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