Radicevic scores 12 against Poland as Montenegro keep clean record
Montenegro carry four points to Skopje and the main round of the Women's EHF EURO 2022. Beating Poland 26:23 was their third victory on home ground in the same number of preliminary round matches. Poland must wait for the result of the Germany vs Spain game to learn whether they advanced or are out.
The hosts need to work extremely hard, as Poland again played with heart and soul. A 5:0 run in the middle of the second half decided the first ever EHF EURO duel of both sides, which was highlighted by 12 goals of the outstanding Jovanka Radicevic, the Player of the Match. The whole arena was shouting “Joka, Joka”, when she received the award.
Poland remain on two points, and have to wait for the result of the last match in Podgorica – Spain vs Germany – if the plane on Thursday brings them to Skopje or back home.
Poland vs Montenegro 23:26 (12:12)
- after the official farewell for Montenegrin record player Jovanka Radicevic, who had her last international match on home ground, her side did not use the boost from the stands, but was surprised by the tactically perfectly adapted Polish side, which pulled ahead to 5:2
- even a 7:2 run of the host for the 9:7 advance did not break the Polish morale in an intense battle for every ball and every centimetre, as Monika Kobylinska levelled the score for 12:12 with the half-time buzzer by her fourth of six goals
- after five goals before the break, Radicevic was the key factor in the crucial period of match: Poland did not score a goal for nine minutes, while Montenegro scored a decisive 5:0 run for 18:13
- leading 23:17, Montenegro were clearly on the winning way; Poland reduced the gap to four goals but could not endanger the home team's win anymore
- Poland can still proceed, either when Germany do not lose against Spain, or when Spain win by more than three goals, or when Germany lose to Spain by three goals AND do not score at least 21 goals
“Air Joka” on a high-flyer again
4,000 fans gave standing ovations and were chanting for Jovanka Radicevic, and they hold a huge banner on top of the arena: “Love until the last breath, Jovanka Orleanka (Joan of Arc)”. The 36-year-old right wing was crying when she received framed shirts with her number 4 and one with 1,000 – for the more than 1,000 goals for the national team. The match against Poland was the last international match on home ground for Radicevic. And the numbers are impressive: record player with now 188 matches and 1,080 goals. Those include 12 goals against Poland – and now she aims for her next personal record. Having scored 191 career EHF EURO goals, she is likely to pass the 200-goal mark in the (at least) three remaining matches in Skopje, where she played many years for Vardar. But Joka hopes her journey will continue to Ljubljana, the home town of her club team, Krim Mercator.
Jovanka Radicevic, right wing of Montenegro: “Emotionally, it was such a hard night and day for me. It was not easy to put all my emotions aside in front of my fans. I am proud of myself and my career, but I am sad too. But tonight was the best and right moment to say farewell. I feel so privileged to finish here in Podgorica in front of so many and so great fans. Thanks for our fans, without them we would not have six points now. Thanks to all my coaches, thanks to Bojana I learnt so many important things from her. It was a privilege to play with her and now to have her as my coach. Now we want to go to Ljubljana! Skopje is my second home, I played five years for Vardar, so the fans there will be cheering for us. I really want to finish in Ljubljana, where I play now.”
Aneta Labuda, right wing of Poland: “We had really good moments in this tournament and I am proud how we fought with all three teams. Today it was a great show for the fans, but we caused some stupid mistakes and had problems with efficiency. But above all, this tournament was a big step for the future.