M18 EHF EURO 2018 hosts Croatia took a win against Israel in the Group A’s second match and the last game of the day in Koprivnica.
Just like in Israel’s first game, Amir Shneider scored the first goal and Yoav Lumbroso quickly added a new one for 2-0 lead. For Croatian side, Gianfranco Pribetić was the first to put the ball in the opponent’s net. The first tie in the game happened in the fifth minute thanks to Marin Greganić (2:2). In the eighth minute, Croatia retook the lead (3:4), but Israel’s fast action was unstoppable for hosts’ goalkeeper Stipe Purić. By the end of the 15th minute, Croatia had a two-goal lead thanks to Patrik Martinović and Marin Greganić while Israel got a second suspension. Until the final whistle of the first half, the match was intense on both sides of the court and none of the teams is going into the second half with a goal more than the other (15:15).
Mateo Maraš brought Croatia lead, but Schneider found a hole in the defence for a new tie at the beginning of the second half. Israel slowed their rhythm down and Croatia’s series brought them a three-goal advantage by the end of the 40th minute (18:21). Although Croatia lead by three-goal most of the second half, Israel tied five minutes before the end of a dramatic match. Last 60 seconds saw Croatia having a three-goal lead and a final whistle marked a new win (27:30) for Boris Lisica’s team.
Croatia’s best player was Mateo Maraš and Israel’s Amir Schneider.
Top scorer for the winning team was Mateo Maraš with seven goals and for Israel Yoav Lumbroso also with seven.
Boris Lisica, Croatia coach: We had a clear plan concerning their specific type of defense. We started the match with some players who were fresher coming off yesterday’s match. It was tied up for majority of the match, and we couldn’t get the separation. Israel are very flexible and aggressive, so we were only able to go up by 2 or 3. A good experience for many players, and it is clear that Serbia and Croatia are the best teams in group. I’m sure we’ll prepare for them.
Mateo Maraš, Croatia player: We expected a tough match since Israel play different than many other European teams. They caused us some troubles with their pressing, but we managed to control the match. The preparation for the match was good and two points are in the bag. We expect a very interesting match against Serbia, and hopefully the stands will be full.
Yamner Yuval, Israel player : I think today our team played one of the best matches together. We worked for each other, the teamwork was amazing and I’m proud of my friends, goalkeepers, coaches, training staff. I’m also happy to win the best player of the match prize. Croatia are a very good team, as they showed against Portugal. I don’t think we played well against them, we’re on a similar level and managed to stay close. They won the game, but it could have gone either way.
Oleg Boutenko, Israel coach : As we told yesterday, we showed terrific motivation to compete against Croatia. In the end, we lost a couple of balls. We were in a good situation to win the game, but we missed a few players in the end. I think our mistakes made the difference in today. We have a rest day ahead of Portugal. A very important game versus Portugal, we want to win and wait for the result in a Croatia-Serbia match.
Group A, Round 2:
Israel – Croatia 27:30 (15:15)