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10.01.2016, 12:00
Montenegro aim for first EHF EURO victory
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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN #12: Nine times Montenegro have taken to court at EHF EURO events – and never left victorious. With that in mind, the team’s foremost goal for the EHF EURO 2016 is set
 

Montenegro aim for first EHF EURO victory

Poland 2016 will be the third EHF EURO participation for Montenegro, but the team is still waiting for its first win as it lost eight times and drew and once date.

With a younger and arguably less experienced team than in previous years, head coach Ljubomir Obradovic will not only try and achieve the first victory and steer his team to the main round, but he also aims at being the tournament’s dark horses.

In the lead-up to the EHF EURO, Montenegro first beat African champions Algeria 26:19, but lost the second game 22:24.

They also beat Bosnia-Herzegovina and will conclude their preparation with two games against FYR Macedonia on 10 and 11 January.

The team’s strength

The energy of some young players such as Vuko Borozan, Vladan Lipovina, Milos Vujovic and Stefan Cavor and their great desire to show their qualities, could be a key factor for better results than before at an EHF EURO for Montenegro.

The team has nothing to lose but everything to gain, and they will play without any pressure for results, and that factor could be also decisive to spring some surprise.

Traditionally, the defence is the main weapon for Montenegro and with Rade Mijatovic, Mile Mijuskovic and Radivoje Ristanovic the team can also count on some experienced goalkeepers.

And on the opposite end of the court Vasko Sevaljevic, Vladan Lipovina, Vuko Borozan and Stefan Cavor also pose a threat in attack.

The team’s weakness

Just like at the EHF EURO 2008 in Norway (back then with Petar Kapisoda who is now the national team manager), Montenegro will play the tournament in Poland with just one left wing – the talented Milos Vujovic – forcing Obradovic to improvise.

Centre back Bozo Andjelic is destined to act as left wing and give a rest to Vujovic at times.

Furthermore, the head coach has to replace in-form Milos Bozovic, who sustained a leg injury on 27 September, and generally it remains to be seen how the lack of experience at EHF EURO level will influence Montenegro.

The team’s star

The only Montenegro player in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League is right wing Fahrudin Melic, for sure one of the stars of the team, although he is not receiving a lot of court time at Paris Saint-Germain and will join Chambery next season.

But he is a shoo-in in the national team alongside captain Rade Mijatovic and left back Vasko Sevaljevic.

The hidden gem

Although they are very young, left back Vuko Borozan (21 years) and right back Vladan Lipovina (22) are already playing in the German Bundesliga.

Borozan is even TuS N-Lübbecke’s top scorer with 80 goals in 20 games.

These two players have a chance to be in the starting line-up and show their great potential.

The outlook

In Gdansk, Montenegro will face Denmark, Hungary and Russia in Group D.

In the past, Montenegro have recorded victories against the so-called big teams, such as Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic and Iceland.

But all those wins came in single games, with enough time to prepare it physically and psychologically.

On tournament level the story is different. Counting the past two EHF EURO events they played, as well the World Championship 2013 in Spain, Montenegro won just one of 16 games.

Hence the team’s first goal is to get at least one victory, which probably would probably secure them a place in the main round – and that would already be considered a huge success.


TEXT: Sasa Joncic / ts
 
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