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17/01/2014

Belarus proceed to the main round

MATCH REVIEW: 29:23 victory in the final Group D match against Montenegro secures berth at next stage in Aarhus

Photo: Brian Lindberg Jensen

Belarus are the last team to join the EHF EURO 2014 Main Round from Group D after a convincing 29:23 win against Montenegro at Brondby Hallen on Friday.

For the first time Belarus and Montenegro met on EHF EURO level, and it was straight away a crucial match as the two teams fought for the ticket to the main round.

The first half was full of tension as the two teams played on eye level, and it was only in the second half that Monetenegro ran out of steam.

Best Montenegrin player from start was team captain Mladen Rakcevic, who played his 50th international for his country - an achievement he was honoured for by the Danish Handball Federation before the match.

On the other end of the court Belarus star player Siarhei Rutenka, who has been one of the outstanding players in Group D - despite missing the first match due to a fever - with his amazing thirteen goals in the game against Sweden, missed the first two penalties for Belarus before scored for the second time to make it 4:5.

Montenegro's defence went high up on the Belarusian shooters, as they tried keepting Rutenka as far away as possible from the goal.

The task was almost successful as the left back, who normally hits the net pretty accurately and regularly, had trouble finding it this time and missed 50 per cent of his chances, before he reduced the score to 11:12 with his fifth goal.

But despite missing their captain Drasko Mrvaljevic since the start tournament and several other players who got injured in the past two matches, Montenegro kept the match open until half-time (13:13).

The second half threw off with Belarus now gaining the upper hand in a physical match as as Viktar Zaitsau granted his team with the 17:14 lead.

"We started nervously in the second half and Belarus could play with all their experience and capitalise on our unexperienced team," admitted Montenegro right back Marko Simovic.

Half-way through the second half Montenegro reduced the gap, as right wing Marko Lasica scored his third goal on a fast break, leaving goalkeeper Charapenka helpless, reducing the gap to 18:17 in favour of Belarus.

From there on Montenegro enjoyed anything between one-goal and a four-goal lead, before Montenegro's batteries ran out of power and only their 'Man of the Match' Marko Simovic did his part to keep them in the game scoring with his eighth goal to make it 22:25.

But Ivan Brouka scored again to get his tally up to seven goals and the score up to 26:22.

The experienced player, who was also awarded for his 125th game for Belarus, furthermore received the honour of Belarus' Player of the Match.

After that it was plain sailing for Belarus as they ended the match with a six goal-lead and a final score of 29:23.

"For both teams it was a very important match today. We saw a good fight of both teams but still a completely fair match.

"My team played a very good defence, particularly in the second half and our goalkeeper performed well. That was the key to success," said head coach Iouri Chevtsov

Chevtsov and the rest of the team can now look forward to pack their bags and make their way to Aarhus where they will meet Poland on Sunday in their first main round encounter.

written by Mie Oestergaard / ts