Serbia and FYR Macedonia share spoils in doubleheader
Both Serbia and FYR Macedonia have high hopes of doing well at the upcoming World Championship in December as well as in the qualifiers for the EHF EURO 2014.
With that in mind, it is no surprise that they picked each other to test their credentials with a pair of friendles during the national team week from March 18-25 in the central Serbian city of Kragujevac.
The hosts suffered a 27:25 setback in the first match, with their captain and inspirational playmaker Andrea Lekić sitting out the game after gruelling exertions with her club Györi Audi ETO in the Women's EHF Champions League.
However, the hosts then bounced back to win the reverse fixture 32:25 thanks to eight goals by in-form left back Sanja Damnjanović.
Lekić and left wing Svetlana Ognjenović added six apiece for Serbia, right wing Katarina Krpež chipped in with four and showed that the EHF EURO 2012 hosts, who finsihed a best-ever fourth in last year’s tournament, have plenty to look forward to when they stage the 2013 World Championship in December.
FYR Macedonia, who had nine-goal Elena Gjorgijevska to thank for their impressive victory in the first game, led throughout the first half in the second match and it seemed they would be able to complete an unlikely double over Serbia after the opening 30 minutes.
But the home team stepped up a gear after the break and there was no way back for the Macedonians after Serbia opened up a 28:23 gap with just eight minutes to play.
The Serbians extended their lead in the closing stages to draw a warm applause form their fans in the Jezero Hall.
FYR Macedonia, for their part, will also have boosted their confidence ahead of a difficult two-leg playoff against Spain in June for a return trip to Serbian in December.
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / cor