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13.03.2016, 17:09
First win for Turkey in EHF EURO 2016 Qualification
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ROUND REVIEW: Turkey defeated Portugal to record their first win of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification as Belarus and Ukraine move up to four points
 

First win for Turkey in EHF EURO 2016 Qualification

Turkey defeated Portugal by an unexpectedly decisive six goals to secure their first win of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification in Group 6 on Sunday in Ankara.

In Groups 1 and 2, Belarus and Ukraine recorded comfortable wins in their second-leg matches against Lithuania and Italy.

For both teams it was the second win of the week, and both now move up to four points and settle firmly into third place on their respective tables.

GROUP 1: Belarus vs Lithuania 38:35 (18:15)

Lithuania surprised Belarus with what must have been a more difficult match than expected for the home side.

After Belarus won the away leg in Kaunas 29:21 on Wednesday, it looked as though Sunday’s return fixture would end with a comfortable win for the home team.

But it was a must-win match for Lithuania, and the chance to continue along the road to the final tournament in Sweden was powerful motivation for the visitors to keep pace through the first 45 minutes until the home team put the pedal down.

After a level opening 10 minutes Belarus took control of the match to lead 7:6. Though the home team maintained the advantage from that point until the final whistle, leading by three at half-time, they could not shake the visitors off completely to lead decisively as they had in the first leg.

Lithuania came within one goal more than once during the second half, with the score still neck-and-neck at 28:27 with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.

But the three-goal advantage from half-time ultimately proved crucial for Belarus, and they held that lead at the final buzzer to secure the victory.

GROUP 2: Ukraine vs Italy 36:23 (15:6)

When they travelled to Italy for the first-leg match Ukraine returned with a decisive 16-goal win that signalled a comfortable home victory could be on the cards on Sunday, and it was a one-sided game as expected.

After a brief level score in the opening minutes Ukraine recorded a 4:0 run that created a clear advantage.

Just before the 15-minute mark Ukraine held the lead at 6:3, and it would be more than five minutes until Italy scored again while the home team moved further in front to 10:3.

Ukraine took a nine-goal lead into the break and it was clear they would have to change little to claim the two points.

When the score board showed 30:14 with nine minutes remaining the outcome of the game was decided.

GROUP 6: Turkey vs Portugal 37:31 (17:18)

Turkey capitalised on playing at home to record their first win of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, defeating Portugal by a larger margin than expected to put their points tally on two.

As only one goal separated Turkey and Portugal in their first-leg game Sunday’s match was expected to be tense.

From the outset it was a tussle for the advantage, with the lead changing hands more than once throughout the match.

Midway through the first half Portugal were in front 10:8 before they increased their advantage to three. But they could not hold on to that difference and Betül Yilmaz (11 goals) led Turkey to close the gap to just one at the break.

When the match resumed Yilmaz immediately equalised and Turkey went on a determined 8:0 run to earn a comfortable advantage at 25:18 before Portugal scored their first of the period.

Those 10 minutes were the end of hope for Portugal, who could not come back from such a deficit.

When Turkey’s Ceren Demircelen took the score to 32:25 with just over eight minutes remaining the game was well and truly decided.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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