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06.11.2016, 22:45
Romania make Poland stand with the back against the wall
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ROUND REVIEW 3: In Sunday's final three EHF EURO 2018 qualifiers, Xavi Pascual's Romania beat Talant Dujshebaev's Poland, while Austria recorded their first win and Montenegro drew with Russia
 

Romania make Poland stand with the back against the wall

Round 2 of the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification came to an end on Sunday night with two thrilling games and one true sensation as Romania beat Poland in the duel of the two Spanish coaches: Xavi Pascual and Talant Dujshebaev.

Following their 31:31 draw against Slovakia on Wednesday, Russia drew again, this time 24:24 against Montenegro, while a late goal secured Austria’s win against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Group 2:
Romania vs. Poland 28:23 (11:9)

Romania arrived from the first qualification phase and they are now one of the most successful nations in the current EHF EURO 2018 Qualification.

Four days after their sensational 26:23 away win against Belarus, Romania confirmed their current brilliant form with a surprise 28:23 win against Olympic semi-finalists Poland.

They now top the table of Group 2 after two rounds with the optimum of four points.

On the other hand, the EHF EURO 2016 hosts are under extreme pressure as they lost their first two qualifiers against Serbia and Romania.

The match in Cluj was also the duel between the two Spanish coaches, Xavi Pascual and Talant Dujshebaev, who usually face in the VELUX EHF Champions League with their clubs FC Barcelona Lassa and KS Vive Tauron Kielce.

Spurred on by more than 5,000 spectators in Cluj, Romania did not start play a brilliant game in attack in the first half, but was even better in defence.

Courtesy of numerous saves by goalkeeper Mihai Catalin Popescu, the hosts led 11:9 at the break.

Pascual may have assumed that Dujshebaev's would struck back. In the initial stages of the second half, Poland took control of the game, but they were not able to turn the game in their favour.

Quite to the contrary: When the engines of top scoring trio Iuliu Csepreghi, Ionut Ramba and Marius Mocano (five goals each) started roaring, Romania were unstoppable.

Nine minutes before the end, the deal looked already sealed, when Razvan Pavel hammered the ball into the empty Polish goal for the 24:19.

The fans went crazy, but Poland rose one more time, reducing the gap to 22:24.

However, with some crucial Popescu saves and Ramba netting for 27:23 with 16 seconds left, Romania continued their perfect start to the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification.

Group 3:
Bosnia Herzegovina vs. Austria 22:23 (11:9)

Both sides had lost their opening qualification matches mid week: Austria 31:27 against Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina 30:21 against. Hence the losing side of this match would already have its back against the wall.

This side is now Bosnia-Herzegovina, who still wait for their first point in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification, while the only goal of Gerald Zeiner 37 seconds before the end, secured the first two points for Austria.

In a low-scoring first half, Bosnia-Herzegovina turned a 7:8 deficit into a 11:8 lead right before the break, and remained on track until 16:14 in the 39th minute.

Then Austria's German Bundesliga stars Raul Santos, Nikola Bilyk (both THW Kiel) and Robert Weber (SC Magdeburg, Austrian top scorer by six goals) took on the responsibility and turned the tide for their team.

Thanks to five consecutive goals, Austria led 19:16 and had gained the upper hand within 13 minutes.

Still nothing was decided: When Bosnian top scorer Marko Tarabochia scored his sixth goal for 21:21, followed even by the 22:21, the hosts agains hoped for victory. But eventually Wilhelm Jelinek and Zeiner scored the game's last two goals for the lucky Austrians.

Group 6:
Montenegro vs. Russia 24:24 (12:11)

The first point for the Montenegrin interim coaches Milorad Davidovic and Petar Kapisoda, the second draw for Russia in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification. In a match that was more than levelled, the eventual 24:24 draw was a well-deserved result.

Neither Montenegro nor Russia were ahead by more than one goal in the first half – a clear indicator how equal both opponents were.

And nothing changed after the break: Montenegro took the lead, Russia equalised in the next attack. It took until the 43rd minute when Montenegrin top scorer Vuko Borozan (10 goals overall) granted his team the first two-goal gap at 19:17, but thanks to a strong performance of left back Pavel Atman (eight goals in total) Russia levelled the result again at 20:20.

Enjoying a one-man advantage, the visitors took their first lead in the second half when Daniil Shishkarev scored for 23:22 with only five minutes to go, followed even by Dmitry Kovalev’s penalty goal for 24:22.

But the deal was not sealed for Russia: Vasko Sevaljevic with his sixth and Borozan with his tenth goal levelled the result again at 24:24 and none of the two teams was able to score in the final minute.

Photo credit: Mircea Rosca / www.ActionFoto.ro


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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