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EHF EURO

Finland save last-gasp draw against Georgia

EHF / Adrian Costeiu

With 11 minutes left in the first EHF EURO 2024 Relegation Round game, Georgia looked to have the win secured against Finland, boasting a four-goal lead.

But a last-gasp comeback from the Scandinavian side helped Finland seal a draw, 22:22, becoming favourites to progress to the Qualification Phase 2 before the away leg, due to be played on Sunday.

EHF EURO 2024 RELEGATION ROUND

Georgia vs Finland 22:22 (8:9)

  • an offensive drought that saw Georgia score only two times in the first 19 minutes, handed Finland a big chance to jump ahead
  • but the Scandinavian side could not capitalise on Georgia’s offensive woes – a meagre 17% attack efficiency – and held the slightest of leads at the break, 9:8
  • in the first 12 minutes of the second half, Georgia doubled their output from the first half, but their 4:0 unanswered run was cancelled out by Finland’s own 3:0 run, prompted by a well-taken timeout called by coach Ola Lindgren
  • Max Granlund, who has been immense since November for Finland, scoring 20 goals in the Qualification Phase 1 for the IHF Men’s World Championship 2023, scored in the last second of the game to tie the scores, 22:22
  • the second leg of the matchup will take place in Vantaa, Finland, on 9 January

Another draw between Georgia and Finland

Games between Georgia and Finland have always been close-calls, with draws in January 2020, 24:24, in the Qualification Phase of the EHF EURO 2022, and in November 2021, 29:29, in the Qualification Phase 1 of the IHF Men’s World Championship 2023, for example.

This time around, with a Qualification Phase 2 berth for the EHF EURO 2024 on the table, Georgia and Finland also produced an exciting match, albeit one for the purists, where defences excelled.

Eventually, the game ended in a draw, as Finland secured an important result in the last second. Giorgi Tskhovrebadze, the All-Star right back at the IHF/EHF Trophy in 2021, scored six goals, but missed 11 shots, including two penalties for Georgia, while Max Granlund, Finland’s top scorer, tied Tskhovrebadze’s tally.

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