Match between the two defeated teams from the opening day, ended in a least expected fashion, as they will both carry one point. Marquee players of both teams, Filip Jicha and Kiril Lazarov did well enough to split the points after a thriller in Herning, with Lazarov more likely to be content with the outcome – 24:24.
It was the 33-year old Barcelona right back that opened the score in two minutes into the game. Mirkulovski’s goal from the fast-break marked the tipping point for Czech Republic who were loosing 6-3 at the moment. In less than 5 minutes Jichaovertuned, after the penalty from Lazarov deflected right into the keepers hands, making it 6-7 for the Czechs. Safe hands from Stochl again, keeping three sitters from Manaskov, Lazarov and Pecakovski, thus providing a chance for Czech team to further their one-goal lead. After Jicha hit the post from the 7-meter line, Dimovski leveled the score at 10-10, with less than two minutes to play. With seconds separating them from the break, Stochl was composed again to save a shot form Mirkulovski, assisting Jicha with a pinpoint pass to score from the counter. 10-11 for Czech republic as the teams went to half-time.
The second saw a quick fight-back from Lazarov turning the score to Macedonia’s favor. Lazarov displayed his amazing shooting repertoire 42 minutes in, scoring two in succession, before Manaskov setting the score at 17-14. The score was back on level terms by the 52nd minute of the game as the match went into a dramatic finish 20:20. Lazarov saw yet another of his penalties saved by Stochl at 23-23, with less than 3 minutes to go.Pecakovski’s effort to bring his team a one-goallead, was matched by Horak with a breakthrough from bottom right. Last minutes saw both Alušovski and Haber taking time-outs late in the game, with the last shot from Jicha parried by Ristovski leaving the final score at 24-24.
Lazarov heroically finished the with 12 goals to his name, while Horak led the scoring for Czechs with 8, followed by Jicha with 6. Macedonia will leave the match a happier rival, as they now find themselves on the brink of the Main Round, before their match with Austria, while the Czech team will have to pull out a miracle, facing Denmark in the last match of the Preliminary Group stage.
TEXT: NEMANJA SAVIC