Finland advance despite narrow loss

Björn Pazen / ts

Finland advance despite narrow loss

The losers eventually became the winners: Finland are the first team to make it from the intermediate play-offs to the main phase of the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification despite losing the return leg of their double-header against Luxembourg 27:29.

Finland had won the first leg on Thursday 28:23 and therefore could afford the narrow loss at home.

Just like in the first leg left wing Teemu Tamminen was the 'man of the match' for Finland. Tamminen had already scored 11 times in the first game and repeated the feat in the second, playing a vital role in Finland's aggregate success.

At the beginning it looked as if the game was all going Finland's way with the score at 9:4 in favour of the hosts after 17 minutes. However, Luxembourg refused to give up that early and responded with five consecutive goals. 

At the break Finland led 12:11, but also in the second half Luxembourg continued to fight hard for their chance.

In the 44th minute they took lead at 19:18, and for seconds there was a sense of surprise in the air when five minutes later Luxembourg's Eric Schroeder scored for 23:20.

But there was too much at stake for Finland allowing the game to slip from their hands. This time they responded with three consecutive goals to finally end all of Luxembourg's hopes to make it to the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification.

Eventually Luxembourg won the game, but Finland won the two-legged play-off on aggregate 55:52.

Luxembourg's best scorer was Martin Müller with nine goals.

Finland will now be seeded in Pot 4 at the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification draw which will take place on 14 April in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The draw will be streamed on the EHF EURO Youtube channel.

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