Before the last match of the Group C began we know that Hungary need to win to earn their ticket for the Main Round. If they lose, Spain is going to join Germany in the next round. Russia had two matches behind them and no points. They wanted to finish this M18 EHF EURO with at least one win. No one was resting, no one was calculating.
At the very beginning, it is evident that goalkeepers are going to be key players. Three minutes into the game and bought goalkeepers had two saves, Vadim Kondratenko from Russia and Kristóf Győri from Hungary. Russians started the match optimistically. Ilia Belevtsov scored their first goal, and for first 20 minutes, the managed to keep the one-point lead.
Six minutes Russia couldn’t score a point. Kristóf Győri had two precious saves, Bence Holdosi scored from fast break for the one-point lead, and Szuharev Lev for first Hungarian two-point lead (9:11). The difference just kept getting bigger. After 26 minutes Ilia Belevtsov from Russia got 2-minute suspension and Hungary increased their lead (9:13).
Hungary had their first five-point lead at the beginning of the second halftime (10:15), and six-point lead 15 minutes before the end of the game. Was that the end for Russia? No! Ten minutes before the match ended Russians made 5 – 1 series (Belevtsov, Kovalenko, and Vet Chan Suan with his 3 points in the row). Russian goalkeeper was in the good mood when they needed him the most. Hungary’s player Márton Dely got a red card. It was 24:24.
It was 25:25 one minute before the end. Kondratenko saved last shut from Hungary and Ilitinskii scored for Russia’s victory. The final result was 26:25. Hungary got kicked out from the Main Round.
Best Hungary’s player was Bence Bálint, and Russia’s best player was Vet Chan Suan.
Top scorer for Hungary was Bence Bálint with six goals and for Russia Vet Chan Suan who scored eight goals.
‘We started to get excited that we could secure our spot in the playoff and then started to push responsibility to others in the team. Mistakes were coming up, and that’s why we lost the game’, said Kristof Györi, Hungarian team captain.
‘Second half was the proof that we can be competitive, but I’m afraid it was too late. Still, congratulations to my team, we are pleased to win in last seconds even we couldn’t go to the second round’, said Russian coach Sergej Klenov.
‘First half wasn’t good for us, but in the second half we thought that we could win and we were repeating the sentence in our heads ‘we can win this’. And 5 seconds before the end we scored for our first two points. I’m happy for the win, but I know that we could make it to the playoffs if we were just a bit better against Germany’, said Vet Chan Suan, best Russan player.
Preliminary round, Group C
Russia – Hungary 26:25 (10:14)