Second match of the day in the EHF Euro 2014 group 2 saw a real goal-fest in Jyske Bank Boxen arena. If was France who got the victory today, in an exciting Main round match, which saw two Barcelona teammates Siarei Rutenka and Nikola Karabatić rested. ‘The Experts’ left no place for doubt in their Euro performance, as they secured the semi-final with a statement, after a 39:30 win against Belarus in Aarhus.
French team showed some real quality in depth recently as the newcomer Valentin Porte opened the match with two goals with France leading by 6 in the first 10 minutes of the match. A penalty from the ever-confident Guillaume Joli (6/8) saw an instant fight-back from Nikulenkau (6/11) with 9:4 on the scoreboard. Mid-way through the half a brace from Brouka saw Belarus within four goal difference and a chance to catch up before halftime. Goals from Honrubia (9 goals overall) set them apart again, as the back scored two for 18:12 with the referee counting down on five minutes until the break. It was Brouka again to bring one back for Belarus at 19:16 in the last minute, but Joli took one back right before the whistle from a penalty, as the teams go for a 15-minute break, with 20:16 on the scoreboard and a real game in their hands.
Second half saw Belarus put little effort to strike back as Rutenka was nowhere to be found. France made sure that they come up with as big lead as they can, while rotating player to preserve them for later stages. 43rd minute was the decisive moment for both team as Belarus were sinking without a trace at 29:21 the score. Technical faults and great goalkeeping from both Dumoulin (3/7) and Omeyer (13/39) saw France with a secured win in their hands. Penalty-hero Joli set the difference to double-digits, as the score was 38:28 two minutes until the end. Astrashapkin’s goal came in the same minute for the final score 38:29, but it was no more than consolation as France seal their ticket to semi-final and Belarus play for pride until the end of the Main round.
TEXT: NEMANJA SAVIC