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10.04.2019, 21:01
Belarus end Czech Republic’s perfect run; Turkey take first points
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QUALIFIERS REVIEW 1: Belarus became the first team to defeat Czech Republic, Germany continued their winning streak, and Turkey claimed their first points as round 3 of the EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers got underway
 

Belarus end Czech Republic’s perfect run; Turkey take first points

Germany became the first side to move up to the maximum six points when round 3 of the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers commenced on Wednesday evening. The 2016 European champions defeated Poland in Group 1, while Ukraine simultaneously collected two points with a win over Faroe Islands in Group 8.

Turkey opened the day with a four-goal victory away in Greece, thereby taking their first points of the qualification phase.

Czech Republic had to endure their first defeat of the qualifiers – and on home court no less – as Belarus played a strong match and finished with the narrowest of victories.

GROUP 1
Poland vs Germany 18:26 (10:13)

It took 10 minutes for World Championship 2019 semi-finalists Germany to claim the upper hand – and it may have been quicker had it not been for the saves of in-form Poland goalkeeper Adam Morawski. Morawski made a number of important saves, but he could not prevent the visitors steadily increasing the distance throughout the match.

Germany turned the score from 2:1 to 2:6 with a 5:0 run, which prompted a timeout that allowed the hosts to recover and remain competitive. But those quiet minutes for Poland were costly, and they could never fully reduce the gap. Nine turnovers for the home side in the first half were clearly part of the problem.

Germany took a three-goal lead into the break and pulled further away as the clock ticked on. The EHF EURO 2016 winners held a commanding 22:17 lead when the final 10 minutes began and sealed an eight-goal win.

GROUP 3
Greece vs Turkey 22:26 (11:11)

Turkey claimed their first points of the EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers with a hard-fought win away in Kozani, where nothing was decided until the final five minutes.

Turkey had a stronger start to the game, while it took Greece five minutes to score their first goal. The hosts were left chasing throughout the first half and only overcame the persistent two-goal gap thanks to Nikolaos Kritikos, who equalised right before the break.

At that point, even though the score was level, Turkey were more efficient in attack, and the second period saw a continuation of a tight contest. Neither side held a lead of more than one goal for most of the second half.

In the 55th minute, the two points could still have gone to either side, as the score was locked at 22:22, but Turkey then grabbed the momentum and took the win, 26:22, thanks to a 4:0 run up to the buzzer.

GROUP 5
Czech Republic vs Belarus 30:31 (12:14)

Czech Republic hoped to maintain their record as the only undefeated side in Group 5, but they were instead handed their first loss of the qualification campaign – on their home court. It was a level match early on, and the hosts even took the lead, 11:9, by the 18th minute.

But after trailing 12:11 in the 26th minute, Belarus responded and created a two-goal advantage at the half-time buzzer. Despite a solid 6-0 defence supported by great saves from Martin Galia, Czech Republic could not find a way to turn the tide completely in their favour, though they were tantalisingly close.
 


A red card for Stepan Zeman in the 45th minute further decreased the home side’s chances, and Belarus took the opportunity to move head, 23:20, off the resulting penalty. However, the home team fought back to 28:28 with five minutes on the clock, but Belarus edged ahead again in the closing stages and claimed a nail-biting one-goal win.

GROUP 8
Ukraine vs Faroe Islands 30:19 (17:12)

Ultimately, Faroe Islands could not keep pace with their round 3 hosts. After a level opening saw the score tied at 6:6 after 10 minutes, the visitors pulled away to lead 11:8 in the 17th minute and tightened their grip to a five-goal difference at the break.

Ukraine played with speed, running every counter attack opportunity, and their positional play was also well-prepared for Faroe Islands’ 6-0 defence. The hosts ruthlessly increased their advantage to hold a 25:16 lead in the 50th minute.

Long before the buzzer, the two points were clearly decided. Ukraine took their second win of the qualifiers at the final whistle, joining group leaders Denmark, who will play their round 3 clash on Thursday, on four points. Faroe Islands stay in fourth place with one point.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / jw
 
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