August 19, 2015 4:37 pm
Hungary won against Croatia (32-29) in the crucial match in Group 2 of the Main Round, which helped the Romanian team to get the second place in the Group and book a place in the semifinals.
Both teams played very well in the attack at the opening of the match, so after just 10 minutes of play total of 13 goals has been scored (7-6). Hungary started playing a bit better in defense and managed to pull away to a big five goal lead (11-6). However, Croatia players didn’t surrender, but started playing much better. After a 4-0 Croatia run it was time for the Hungary coach to take a timeout. After this, both teams played equal to Macedonian handball until the end of the half, with Hungary going to the break with one goal lead.
The second half again brought a good “fight” from two quality teams, with Croatia drawing to 21-21 before Hungary scoring three times in a row. Goalkeeper Ecimovic made three good stops for Croatia, but her team couldn’t find the rytm in the attack, promtping coach Jerkovic to take a timeout with 16 minutes to go (26-23). Hungarians couldn’t score a goal for five minutes, but luckily their goalkeeper Suba was excellent on the goal, making some crucial saves for retaining the lead (26-24). Croatians didn’t have any luck in the most important part of the game, hitting the post a few times, before Dobric finally found a way to beat Suba (28-26).
Croatian team had one last chance to come close after Hornyak got a 2 minute suspension, but Hungary scored with one player less on the field, Suba made one more save at the other end, leading the Hungarian team to new victory , providing a place in the semifinal.
Hungary coach – Bela Bartalos:
I am very proud of my girls, they fought hard through the whole match and we managed to keep the control. Into the first half, we had many troubles in defense, especially with Pletikosic who played great. But in the second half, we pushed our defense a little bit forward to the 7 meters line, and that tactical change got us the wanted result. About the semi-final, we know how Russia plays, and I think that is by far the best team at the Championship. But no matter, I hope that we will again play hard, focused and motivated and maybe we can surprise them.
Hungary player – Noemi Hafra:
This was a great team performance. I won the ‘Player of the match’ award, but we played great as a team, so I can say that we all deserved it. I’m very happy with the win and with securing the place in the semi-finals. If we play as hard as we did today, anything can happen. Who knows, maybe we can even get to the great final.
Croatia player – Tena Japnudza:
I know we can play much better, but today we couldn’t reach our best level. Some mistakes were made both in defense and in attack, I am really disappointed because we couldn’t get a ticket for the semifinals.
Croatia coach – Ivan Jerkovic:
We needed just a bit luck in the crucial moments when we had chances to get back, but hit the post or the Hungarian goalkeeper made some saves. However, I am proud of the way my team has played at this championship, this is our first big event and I am sure that these players will get even better in the future.