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27.10.2018, 22:19
Russia, Hungary and Czech Republic take second victories
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QUALIFICATION REVIEW 2: Only away teams celebrate in Saturday’s EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers, as Zhitnikov and Galia seal the deals for Russia and Czech Republic
 

Russia, Hungary and Czech Republic take second victories

All visiting teams emerged the victors in the five round 2 EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers played on Saturday night. In the evening session, Hungary (in Italy), Russia (in Slovakia) and Czech Republic (in Bosnia-Herzegovina) each took their second victories. Three players stood out the most: Czech goalkeeper Martin Galia and the Russians Daniil Shishkarev and Dmitry Zhitnikov.

GROUP 5
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Czech Republic 20:25 (10:12)

Only twice in the whole 60 minutes, at 3:2 and 5:4, were the hosts in the lead, then the Czech defence became something like a human wall of concrete. Even before the break, coach Daniel Kubes’s team were ahead by three goals twice, but in the second half the Bosnians fell apart.

Czech goalkeeper Martin Galia saved impressively – the Bosnians only managed to score twice in the first 12 minutes of the second half. In the meantime, the Czechs had extended the gap to a decisive 18:12. Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Benjamin Buric was the reason the result was not even clearer.

The points were decided seven minutes before the end, when the Czechs were ahead 23:15. Therefore, Bosnia-Herzegovina have to keep waiting for their next victory against the Czechs after the result in May 1999.

GROUP 7
Italy vs Hungary 22:30 (10:15)

Italy had learnt their lesson from the 20:34 defeat in Russia in round 1 and were much stronger on home ground. After beating Slovakia 30:22 in their opener, Hungary underestimated their opponents on Saturday and, surprisingly, could not cast the Italians off right from the start.

After 15 minutes, the score was only 8:7 in favour of the visitors, but thanks to some goals from their top scorers Zsolt Balogh and Peter Hornyak (both with six), they managed to pull ahead to a 15:10 lead at half-time.

Anyone who thought that the Italians would lack power after the break was wrong – the match was on a more or less equal level until minute 49 and the score of 19:22. Hungary were only fully dominant in the last 10 minutes, taking a clear victory – the fifth out of five encounters with Italy – and maintaining a clean record in the EURO 2020 Qualifiers. Nevertheless, the 3,000 fans in Padova gave a big hand for the hosts.

Slovakia vs Russia 21:22 (12:10)

For 45 minutes, the Slovaks were constantly ahead, then the Russians turned the match around and took their second victory with a buzzer-beating goal from Dmitry Zhitnikov three seconds before the end. In their fifth attempt, Slovakia did not manage to beat Russia – and now, they already have their backs against a wall, as they remain on zero points.

The biggest margins in this level match were the three-goal advances for the hosts – for the last time at the score of 15:12 in minute 37. Until then, defence was the key for the Slovaks, but the four goals they scored in the last 15 minutes was not enough to beat the Russians. The visitors now have the optimum of four points in their account.

“We fought for every centimetre and every ball today. Our defence and goalkeeping was very strong, but finally it was not enough,” said Slovakia’s Danish coach Heine Jensen in the press conference.

The top scorer was Daniil Shishkarev, with 13 goals – 59 per cent of all Russian goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
 
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