EHF EURO 2020, Day 3: Croatia cruise past Belarus, Hungary defeat Russia

Zlatko Horvat

Day 3 at the EHF EURO 2020 was pretty eventful for SEHA countries. Five of them entered the court today and two of them delivered victories. 

(Group A) Croatia - Belarus 31:23 (15:10)
This was considered the clash that could possibly decide which of these teams will end preliminary phase on top of Group A. Loud cheering from the stands and great atmosphere in Stadthalle in Graz carried Croatia in the first minutes of the match where they secured a lead. In the opening minutes, David Mandic scored two fast break goals which enabled Croatia to have 4:1 advantage. They even had 6:2 lead, but Belarus made 0:4 series and equalized. Ivan Matskevich proved to be the key player for Belarus as he had few important saves in that period. Mikita Vailupau was also showing variety of his skills on the court and scored 4 goals in the first 30 minutes.  At the end of the first half, Croatia woke up and went on half-time break with 5 goals advantage. They were dominant on the court in the second half as well and delivered their second EHF EURO 2020 victory. Zlatko Horvat netted 2 times for Croatia, David Mandic scored 3 goals while Valentino Ravnic and Marin Sipic added one each. Matej Asanin entered the court in the second half and had 3 saves. Mikita Vailupau shined bright on the other side. He was the best scorer in Belarusian team with 8 goals. Andrei Yurynok scored three more for Belarus and Ivan Matskevich had 4 saves. 

(Group E) Hungary - Russia 26:25 (14:13)
On day three, Hungary and Russia played their first match at the EHF EURO 2020 and the opening victory went to Hungarian side. It was a tough clash between SEHA League countries. For the most part of the first half, the teams were equal. Neither of them managed to secure more than two goals advantage. Firstly Hungary got 6:4 advantage, and then Russia made a turnover and had 9:11 lead. At the end, after dramatic 30 minutes, Hungary were one goal up. They were highly motivated at the start of the second and were 4 goals up by the 38th minute. In the 45th, Russia managed to decrease that gap and got to ony -1, but Hungary once again stepped up the rythm of their play. Russia finally managed to equalize in the 55th minute. In the last 5 minutes, tough action could be seen on the court and only one goals was scored. That proved to be the winning one for Hungary. On the Russian side Gleb Kalarash was one of the best scorers with 4 goals. Timur Dibirov scored 3 goals, Daniil Shishkarev and Alexander Shkurinskiy scored 2 each while Victor Kireev had 3 saves for Russia. 

(Group A) Montenegro - Serbia 22:21 (11:10)
In another Group A derby, Montenegro secured win against Serbia. Montenegro opened the match confident and had 5:2 lead in 12th minute and 7:3 advantage in 15th minute. Serbia then started getting back into the match. Only one minute before end of the first half, Serbia tied the result but Stevan Vujovic on the other side quickly scored which meant Montenegro were one goal up on half-time. Serbia made turnover at the start of the second half and were 3 goals up by 40th minute. Montenegro managed to tie in the 45th minute and goal by goal play started. Teams entered the last 4 minutes of the match with 20:20. In the end, Montenegro secured points. Milos Bozovic scored 4 goals for Montenegro and Stevan Vujovic added 2. List of scorers on the other side featured Stevan Sretenovic with 3 goals for Serbia and Milan Djukic with one.

Dainis Kristopans stood out in today's match between Latvia and Netherlands (24:32). He was the best scorer in Latvia's team with 7 goals. 

Photo credit: Kolektiff images