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28.10.2018, 21:49
Israel shock Poland with a buzzer beater
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QUALIFICATION REVIEW 3: Slovenia and Germany collect easy wins, while Ukraine prove too strong for Montenegro in the last EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers of round 2
 

Israel shock Poland with a buzzer beater

What a great finish for Israel: Thanks to a buzzer-beating strike, they sensationally beat Poland in one of the final EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers of round 2 on Sunday night. Aside from this result, round 2 of the EURO 2020 Qualifiers proved a weekend to forget for the teams from former Yugoslavia: Serbia, FYR Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina lost their matches on Sunday night, before Montenegro and Kosovo were defeated. The only two wins of former Yugoslav teams were taken by Croatia and Slovenia.

In the remaining three matches on Sunday night, Germany won comfortably in Kosovo, Estonia were no huge hurdle for Slovenia, and Montenegro were not strong enough in Ukraine.

After the completion of round 2, 10 teams –Germany, Croatia, Iceland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Hungary, Russia and Denmark – have the maximum of four points in their account. Rounds 3 and 4 of the EHF EURO 2020 qualification will follow in April 2019.

GROUP 1
Kosovo vs Germany 14:30 (5:15)

Supported by 80 German soldiers, who are deployed in Kosovo and were visited in the morning and invited to the match by the Germany team, the 2016 European champions had no problems taking their second win. At the break, the distance was 10 goals and, despite some lapses in concentration in attack, the result of 30:14 was the biggest difference in all 16 EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers in round 2.

Kosovo needed 49 minutes to score their 10th goal, while both German goalkeepers – Andreas Wolff (eight saves) and Dario Quenstedt (10) – had an overall save percentage of more than 50. The top German scorers were Uwe Gensheimer and Franz Semper with four goals each.

While the Germans now top the table with four points and a goal difference of +32 after two matches, Kosovo remain on zero points.
 
Israel vs Poland 25:24 (12:12)

Never before in the history of handball had Israel won an official match against Poland, but on Sunday night, the players jumped for joy and could not believe what had just happened. Two seconds before the final buzzer, they caused the next sensation of the EURO 2020 Qualifiers. The 25:24 was the only lead Israel held in the second half and the first after the 12:11 right before the break.

Poland had taken the upper hand in the second half, intermediately pulling ahead to a three-goal distance at 18:15 in minute 40. But in contrast to their clear 37:13 win on Wednesday against Kosovo, the Poles could not outdistance their opponents.

Israel improved, Poland got nervous, but still seemed to be on the way to a win when they led 24:22 six minutes before the end. With a one-player advantage, Israel first equalised and then changed a Polish turnover into the winners’ strike. Both sides are now equal on two points.

GROUP 4
Estonia vs Slovenia 20:31 (11:16)

The clear win on Sunday night in Tallinn was the closest result ever between these sides, as Slovenia had won the previous encounters 33:18 and 34:20. After the 27:21 result against Latvia, coach Veselin Vujovic’s team is the only one in this group with four points in their account – and it looks like a straight path towards the EHF EURO 2020.

Though the Estonians, who had to replace their top star Mait Patrail, were never in lead throughout the whole match, the first 20 minutes were on a quite equal level. The visitors took the upper hand after the 8:7 and extended the gap goal by goal to the half-time score of 16:11. The decision was taken between minute 36 and minute 53, when Slovenia pulled ahead from 17:14 to 28:17.

After the 25:35 loss against the Netherlands in round 1, Estonia remain on zero points.
 
GROUP 8
Ukraine vs Montenegro 29:24 (15:12)

After the 24:30 defeat in Denmark in their opener, Ukraine took their first two points in the first ever official match against Montenegro.

In the middle of the first half, the hosts managed to extend the gap to four goals and even pulled ahead to 22:16 in minute 41. Then, several two-minute suspensions slowed Ukraine’s rhythm, but Montenegro could not profit and were clearly defeated at the intermediate score of 26:19.

The top Montenegrin scorer was Stevan Vujovic, while Vladislav Ostroushko tallied the most for the victors – both with seven goals.

Without their top star, Vardar left back Vuko Borozan, Montenegro remain on only one point, from the draw against Faroe Islands in round 1.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
 
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