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12.06.2015, 19:59
Victorious start for Bulgaria, Finland in Women's EHF EURO 2016 Qualification
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REVIEW: The road to the Women's EHF EURO 2016 started for four teams on Friday, with Bulgaria and Finland taking victories against Faroe Islands and Kosovo respectively
 

Victorious start for Bulgaria, Finland in Women's EHF EURO 2016 Qualification

It was a successful beginning for the teams from Bulgaria and Finland on Friday in the Women's EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, as the former beat Faroe Islands 31:22 and the latter took a 27:19 win against Kosovo.

Bulgaria and Finland are the respective hosts of the two qualification tournaments that are played this weekend and both made good use of the home advantage they enjoy.

First up in Group A were 2012 and 2014 winners of the IHF/EHF Women's Challenge Trophy Bulgaria who faced Faroe Islands, who had never entered a team in an EHF EURO Qualification before.

In the 2012 Challenge Trophy Final Bulgaria had taken a 36:27 (20:11) win against Faroe Islands, but in the initial stages the game looked much closer this time.

Faroe Islands scored the first three goals of the match, while it took Bulgaria eight minutes to appear on the scoreboard.

Goals were then scored on either side of the court, but Bulgaria had the final say in the first half as they scored the last two goals and went into the break with a 12:10 lead.

Neli Dobreva had already hit the back of the net five times in the first half and she continued doing so in the second by adding another six, as fatigue seemed to take its toll on the Faroe Island players and Bulgaria made use of its experience and better individual players.

With 20 minutes left to play, they had extended the lead to 19:12, another ten minutes later they led by 10 goals for the first time at 26:16 and eventually brought home the victory with ease.

Finland win at Kosovo's debut game

In Group B Finland were the favourites against Kosovo who made their debut on the Women's EHF EURO stage, after they had been granted full membership status at the EHF Congress back in September.

However, it took them almost 18 minutes until Finland had carved out their first two-goal lead at 7:5.

Little did they know though that this was halfway through a Finnish 5:0 series that brought the score from 5:5 to 10:5 in less than seven minutes.

With the score at 12:6 at the break, Finland looked very much like the winners already and there was nothing that changed this perception until the end.

Kosovo never got close again, suffering from the fact that they only converted a quarter of their attacks, and Finland easily stayed in control to eventually win 27:19.

Their top scorer was Alexandra Roos with nine goals, while Kosovo's Kaltrina Belka scored seven times.

In Group A Faroe Islands meet Azerbaijan on Saturday; Bulgaria play their match against Azerbaijan on Sunday. Group B's next matches are Israel vs Kosovo on Saturday and Finland vs Israel on Sunday.

Only the group winners advance to the next phase of the qualification. The winners of Group A will be seeded alongside Spain, Netherlands and Austria in Group 3 of the second qualification phase.

The winners of Group B face Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in Group 5.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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