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08.01.2017, 20:30
Shaken Estonians top the table after thriller against Kosovo
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REVIEW: Estonia’s hard-earned victory in EHF EURO 2020 qualification is a perfect base for the final clashes with Turkey.
 

Shaken Estonians top the table after thriller against Kosovo

After an unexpected equal 60 minutes of play, Estonia managed to push the pedal to the metal in the dying minutes of their second match of the EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Phase 1 against Kosovo.

This time though, the hosts could count on their top star, Mait Patrail, from the German Bundesliga club, TSV Hannover-Burgdorf. The result proved to be much closer than in the first leg, when the Baltics took a 31:17 victory in Kosovo on Wednesday.

On home ground at Pölva on Sunday, Estonia won 27:23 (14:10) versus Kosovo, who fought hard for the entire match. The team of head coach Taip Ramadani was in the game until the score of 15:17, at which point Kosovo seemed to be beaten clearly, being down by five goals several times, before Estonia took the match easy until the point of 24:19.

Kosovo – backed by their top scorer, Deniz Terziqi – netted four unanswered goals with three minutes to go to make it 24:23. Estonia were extremely shaken, but did not fall.

Finally, a seven-metre penalty goal by Jürgen Rooba to increase the score 25:23 and a two-minute suspension against Kosovo decided the match in favour of the hosts, who scored the last two goals of the game. Rooba was Estonia’s top scorer with seven goals, while Patrail only scored once from six attempts.

After the two wins, Estonia top the table of Qualification Group 2, one point ahead of the Turks. One victory in the two final matches next week – the first one on Wednesday at Estonia, the second on Sunday at Turkey – is already enough for Patrail & Co. to book their ticket for the second Qualification Stage.

On Saturday, Luxembourg already won their second qualification match in Group 3 against Georgia; in this group, the duels of the two equal teams Luxembourg and Italy will decide the ticket.

Group 1 will be carried out with tournament hosts Faroe Islands, Greece and Cyprus next weekend.

Only the three group winners will proceed directly to the next qualification stage and the remaining six teams get their second chance at the IHF Trophy in June.


TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm
 
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