24.11.2012, 08:46
Poland get closer to Play-Offs

Lithuania remain on zero points while Turkey celebrate win against Azerbaijan

Poland get closer to Play-Offs

Poland made a huge step towards the Play-Offs for the 2013 World Championship when they beat Lithuania 32:19 in the Lithuanian city of Panevezys on Saturday.

It was the team's fourth win in their fourth match of the Qualification Europe which now sees them topping Group 3 with the maximum of eight points ahead of Belarus on four, Italy on two (both teams have played three matches so far) and Lithuania still with zero points.

Belarus and Italy face each other on Sunday, 25 November. An Italian victory would see Poland almost definitely go through to the Play-Offs while a Belarusian win would leave the decision most likely to the last game on 2 December when Belarus face Poland on home soil.

Poland started strongly and enjoyed an early 2:0-lead by two goals from Katarzyna Koniuszaniec. However, Lithuania fought back, scored three unanswered goals and managed to keep the match open until the 6-all after fifteen minutes.

Then the Polish superiority began to become clearer once again. Iwona Niedzwidz netted three consecutive times within three minutes and by half-time Poland had increased the gap to 17:10.

In the second half head coach Kim Rasmussen's Polish women allowed themselves another slow start, leading to angry shouts from the sideline and allowing Lithuania to once more get closer with the score being 23:18 after 47 minutes.

But that remained all Lithuania had to give on that night. Poland tightened their defense and spearheaded by top scorer Koniuszaniec (seven goals) they finally cruised to an unthreatened victory.

In the second match of the day, Turkey beat Azerbaijan 30:26 in Azerbaijan's capital Baku. Turkey now top Group 4 with four points from three matches, while Azerbaijan remain on two points after three matches.

The third team in this group is second-ranked Portugal with two points from two matches.

Seven goals from nine given penalties were not enough for Azerbaijan to overcome the Turkish side. Led by top scorer Yeliz Özil (eight goals) Turkey led 13:12 at the break and in the end could celebrate their second victory in Group 4..

The most successful player for Azerbaijan was Ekaterina Peche with five goals.

Rounds 5 and 6 in Group 3 and Group 4 of the European qualification for the 2013 World Championship will be played between 28 November and 2 December.

Only the first team of each group qualifies for the Play-Offs.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts

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