Montenegro wins the Balkan clash, Serbia says 'au revoir' to semifinal hopes | Handball Planet

Montenegro wins the Balkan clash, Serbia says ‘au revoir’ to semifinal hopes

Mandatory Credit © Jure Erzen / kolektiff

Montenegro takes the two points in the ‘Balkan classic’ after beating Serbia 27-28 and renewed their chances to clinch the last semifinal spot in main round group I in Nantes. Serbia, on the other hand, have lost the opportunity to define the last berth on a face to face against France tomorrow.

It was a hectic match from beginning to end. The coached by Per Johansson found themselves ahead in the scoreboard after three minutes as they were leading 1-3. Goals by Majda Mehmedovic, Tatjana Brnovic and Jovanka Radicevic kept them ahead 4-7 after 8 minutes, but the Serbian side played long and patient attacks to tie the score and eventually go ahead 14-10 after a 5-0 run in the 26th minute.

But at 18 minutes, after saving a shot, Katarina Tomasevic stood up to save the rebound and in a misfortunate and awkward move, her right knee bent inwards as she fell to the floor in pain; she was carried by teammates outside the court and would not return for the rest of the match. Although an official statement is yet to be issued, it looked like a serious knee injury for the Dunaújvárosi Kohász KA keeper. At the end of the first half, Serbia were leading 15-12.

The second period saw a determined Montenegrin team trying to come back, and eventually accomplishing it. After 14 minutes, a lob from Radicevic established the draw at 19. From then on, the match became an exciting exchange of goals and Montenegro took the lead for the first time since the 13th minute of the first half as Jovanka Radicevic scored for the 23-24 on the 22nd minute. Jelena Radojevic tied for Serbia with a shot from the left wing, but a minute later, 21-year-old Djurdjina Jaukovic put Montenegro ahead again with a thunderous 9-meter shot. Majda Mehmedovic stretched the difference to two with 6 minutes left to be played (24-26) and from then on, it would be an upward hill for Serbia.

With a minute left to play, Katarina Krpez-Slezak, who was top scorer of the match with 12 goals (of 13 attempts), set the 27-28 and Montenegro had the last attack in their hands. A save from Colic gave Serbia one last chance to attack and leave the court with at least a draw, but a ball poorly handled ended up in a turnover with 3 seconds until the final buzzer.

With her 12 goals, Krpez-Slezak remains the top scorer of the championship with a total of 45 scored in 5 matches. Buducnost’s centre back Milena Raicevic, who scored 6 times, was named best player of the match.

Montenegro’s last match will be against Denmark, who have lost their first two matches of the main round. The semifinal chances for the coached by Swedish Johansson, taking into account that they must win against the Scandinavians will depend, ironically, on a triumph of her Balcanic neighbours against France as the host nation are second behind Russia with 5 points.

Mandatory Credit © Jure Erzen / kolektiff

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