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06.11.2016, 22:00
Kosovo take historic first point in international handball
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ROUND REVIEW: Valon Dedaj’s goal on the buzzer secures Kosovo a historic 24:24 draw against Turkey, while Italy take their second win on the road to the EHF EURO 2020
 

Kosovo take historic first point in international handball

On the road towards the EHF EURO 2020 – the first with 24 participants – Italy gained an important second win against Georgia in the first qualification phase.

In Sunday’s second match, Kosovo won their first point in international handball courtesy of a thrilling 24:24 draw against Turkey.

Only the winners of the three groups qualification groups, the final Rounds 3 to 6 will be played in January, proceed to the next stage of qualification.

Group B:
Kosovo vs. Turkey 24:24 (11:12)

Kosovo were defeated eleven times in all their eleven official matches on national team level before – four in the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification, six in the World Championship 2017 Qualification and one in the EHF EURO 2020 Qualification – but on Sunday the team of head coach Taip Ramadani wrote history with a 24:24 draw against Turkey in Prishtina.

Eventually a penalty converted by Valon Dedaj on the final buzzer secured the historic point for Kosovo.

After their 26:22 home win in the first leg on Wednesday, Turkey had the better start to the game and took a narrow 12:11 lead into the locker rooms at the break.

Right at the start of the start of the second half – and backed by their strong attackers Onur Ersin (9 goals in the game) and Cetin Celik (7) – they extended the lead to three goals for the first time at 14:11.

However, exactly this marked the wake-up call for the hosts.

Within 13 minutes they turned the deficit into a three-goal lead at 20:17, but then the roller coaster changed its direction again: Turkey bounced back, equalised at 22:22 and thanks to Celik’s seventh strike, they even took the lead at 23:22 with only three minutes left.

And with 50 seconds left, Ersin granted his team the 24:23 lead – but it was not enough for Turkey to win, as Dedaj remained as cold as ice from the penalty line.

Group C:
Georgia vs. Italy 25:28 (13:13)

Like in the first leg on Wednesday which they had won 26:19, Italy improved after the break to beat Georgia.

With the maximum of four points from two matches, they now have their fate in their hands for the remaining double-header in January against Luxembourg to reach the main qualification phase for the EHF EURO 2020.

In the first half, the lead changed constantly, and no side was able to take control of the game.

The even game continued in the second half until the 49th when the score stood at 22:22.

Then Italy scored three goals in a row to break Georgia's resistance.

Compared to the first leg, the hosts managed to stop Dean Turkovic, who netted six times on Sunday compared to his ten goals in the first encounter. However, Italy had over the full length of the game, the better bench compared to Georgia.

Irakli Chicovani was Georgia’s best scorer with eleven goals.

 


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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