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Hungary and Argentina share points in Copenhagen

Hungary and Argentina drawn 25-25 in their debut in group D at the Royal Arena. After a slow start, the South Americans were able to catch up and even took the lead on the second half, but it was not enough to bend the European side, who had a brilliant Zsolt Balogh scoring 11 goals.

The first half saw the Argentinian team really struggling to get their first goal of the match, while the European side seemed comfortable scoring through Zsolt Balogh and Mate Lekai, who put the 0-5 after the first 10 minutes of the match. The first goal for the South Americans came only after 11 minutes through line-player Lucas Moscariello, who would score two more times to shorten the gap after 15’ (3-6).

After a turbulent start of the encounter, Argentina’s solutions came from the bench; the appearances of Manuel Crivelli and Sebastián Simonet helped the current South American champions get as close as 7-8 with 9 minutes left to be played of the first period. Some key saves from Veszprém’s Roland Mikler (finished the half with 44% of saves, 8/18), were vital to keep the lead and despite the last few good moments from the Argentinians, Hungary went 10-13 to the locker rooms.

One minute in to the second half, and after having scored for 11-13, Sebastián Simonet left the court with what looked like a back injury. Debutant Crivelli took the responsibility in as a centre back and did not let down. After five minutes, Laszlo Nagy made his debut in the competition and scored for the first time on the first attack (13-15), but Federico Fernandez quickly shortened the gap again scoring with empty goal (14-15). Only moments after, Argentina tied the match for the first time, it was Fernández again, after a stolen ball and an empty goal (15-15). And for the third time in a row, Fernández scored, this time from the 7-meter line, to give Argentina the first advantage in the match (16-15, 9’).

The last 20 minutes of the match would be very exciting, especially for the neutral audience, because both Hungarians and the very few Argentinians on the arena were suffering seeing their teams fighting hard on court. The lead would be borrowed from team to team, and the goal difference on those last few minutes would be of one goal only, for either side.

On the last actions, Ramiro Martínez scored on his first action of the match (24-23, 56’); Pablo Simonet missed a fast break, Hungary lost the ball, but a minute after tied through Bence Banhidi (24-24). The youngest of the Simonet siblings, who would be named MVP of the match, scored one last time in a breakthrough to put Argentina ahead with one minute left for the end of the match (25-24). Mate Lekai scored his 6th goal of the match and with Sebastián Simonet back on court, Argentina had one last chance to score, but Iganacio Pizarro missed the shot from the left wing. István Csoknyai called a timeout with 13 seconds left on the clock, but that last play was mishandled, and the match finished 25-25. Balogh was top scorer of the encounter (11/14, 79% efficiency), while Pablo Simonet scored six times for Argentina.

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