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Photo: Uroš Hočevar

Norway beat Portugal in a tense finish

Portugal and Norway played the second match in the Group 1 of the Intermediate Round in Koprivnica.

Portugal’s Carlos Oliviera and Norway’s Andre Kristensen had their first saves at the beginning of the match. The first scorer was Henning Knutsen for Norway from the seven-meter line. After Kristensen’s saved penalty, it took Portugal three minutes to score but Tiago Sousa was precise. The first half saw Norway’s domination and a steady lead until the very end. Kristensen’s saves, fast and well-built up actions and a ball in Portugal’s empty goal – all of that brought Anstein Engravslia’s team three goals more at the half-time (11:14).

Salvador Salvador opened the second half scoring for Portugal (12:14). Norway’s rhythm just went up as the time flew by and they kept scoring and increasing the lead (14:19). By the 45th minute, Portugal was down by two (19:21), but Jonas Elverhoy broke their two-goal streak and Ola Hoftun Lillelien added another one for Norway’s four-goal lead. Two minutes before the end and after Portugal’s three-goal series, the result was 26:26. Norway’s Lillelien first scored and put Norway up by one and seconds before the end sealed the deal (26:28).

Winners’ best player was Tobias Grondahl and Portugal’s was Martim Costa.

Top scorer for Norway were Tobias Grondahl and Ola Hoftun Lillelien, each with six goals and for Portugal was Martim Costa with nine.

Tobias Grondhal, Norway player: I’m very happy for the team. It’s been a really tough tournament, we’ve lost by 1 or 2 goals and now we managed to win. it was really tough in a last few minutes and we had to fight throughout the whole match. Now we have to fight for the world championship qualifications.

Anstein Engravslia, Norway coach: This is an important win to stay up for 4 points in a group. This is a deserved win for Norway, but Portugal was strong in last few minutes. In the end we managed to win for 2 goals and that was fantastic. The key of the win was the defense and the counter-attack.

Ricardo Nuno Santos, Portugal coach:  In the first half we didn’t play well, and in the second half we played better and we almost managed to win, so congrats to Norway. We’ll try to win tomorrow against Romania. This was a great experience for some players because they had great moments. We’ll try to stay in best 11.

Martim Costa, Portugal player: We will keep our head up. We lost today, but we have to win tomorrow against Romania. It was a great fight today, but unfortunately Norway won. Overall, it was a great experience to be a part of the tournament.

Intermediate Round 1, Round 1:
Portugal – Norway 26:28 (11:14)

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