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11.06.2015, 09:49
Two key rematches ahead
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PREVIEW: Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina meet for a highly-anticipated EHF EURO 2016 qualifier on Thursday, while Ukraine look for a different ending against Russia in their second-leg game
 

Two key rematches ahead

Thursday’s EHE EURO 2016 qualifier is a crucial one for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belarus, who are currently racing for second spot on the Group 2 table. The match will be streamed live on ehfTV.

Both are on three points with two games remaining to secure their berth at the final tournament in Poland.

In Group 5 Russia look set to take another two points against Ukraine following a one-sided first-leg match in their favour on Wednesday in Minsk.

The EHF live ticker is available for both matches

Group 2: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belarus / Thursday, 20:15 hrs in Zenica (live on ehfTV)

Belarus travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the rematch the two sides have been waiting for since the first round of the qualification phase last October, when they opened their EHF EURO 2016 campaigns with a 25:25 draw.  

But Belarus suffer one disadvantage they did not in October – star player and captain Siarhei Rutenka is in doubt.

"Rutenka's injury is a big concern for me. Siarhei is not with the team now as he will fly from Barcelona directly to Zenica. And there we will see if he is able to play," said Belarus head coach Iouri Chevtsov.

Chevtsov knows his side were the favourites at home, but says the odds are 50:50 for the match in Bosnia.

Belarus won their most recent match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the World Championship 2015 in the President’s Cup stage, but Chevtsov dismisses this match as indicative of how Thursday will go because Bosnia were missing some key players in Qatar.

Bosnia-Herzegovina face already-qualified Denmark in their final game of this stage, while Belarus take on Lithuania.

Group 5: Ukraine vs. Russia / Thursday, 19:00 hrs in Minsk

Russia recorded their second win of the qualification phase against Ukraine (27:22) on Wednesday, while Ukraine struggled without key players in a game that was a bad omen for how Thursday’s rematch might play out.

Led by Timur Dibirov and Alexander Dereven, Russia dominated the entire 60 minutes to keep their opponents on zero points, while Russia move up to join Portugal on four points.

Russia’s decisive win on Wednesday, which saw the team lead by five goals at the 21-minute mark and retain that margin through to the end, means Ukraine have a big job on their hands if they hope to cause an upset.

If Russia take another two points on Thursday, their final qualification phase match against Portugal on Sunday will be the decider in who joins already-qualified Group 5 rival Hungary in Poland.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
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