Serbia and Switzerland take final tickets in Georgia
Serbia and Switzerland were both forced to fight back from early deficits to secure their places in the final of the Women’s 17 EHF Championship in Georgia.
Lithuania and Ukraine both started more strongly in their respective matches, but were unable to hold on to their leads.
Serbia will play Switzerland on Sunday not only for the Women’s 17 EHF Championship title, but also a place at the W17 EHF EURO 2021, the W19 EHF EURO 2021, and the Women’s Under-18 World Championship 2020. The winning team will qualify for all three competitions.
Serbia’s second-half surge pays dividends
Serbia came into the match as favourites, having been undefeated in the preliminary round. However Lithuania came out fighting and were the first to score when Silvija Mackonyte netted in the second minute of play.
Serbia were quickly back into the match, but for much of the first half Lithuania had their noses in front and led 14:13 at half-time.
After an exchange of goals at the start of the second half, two shots by Serbian left wing Tamara Kocic levelled the match at 18:18 with 10 minutes played.
After Serbian goalkeeper Tamara Glisic suddenly fainted, to the concern of her coaches and teammates, Amina Hasanovic took over between the posts. When play resumed Serbia found the spark they needed.
Just five minutes later Serbia had a three-goal lead, and from then on they never looked back. Despite Lithuania scoring the last three goals of the match, it was too little, too late. Serbia took a 32:26 win and a place in the final.
Kocic, Aleksandra Krstic and Milica Pap all scored seven times for Serbia, while Mackonyte and Dominyka Andronik both scored six times for Lithuania.
Ukraine unable to seal the deal against Switzerland
It was a close start to the semi-final between Switzerland and Ukraine, with Ukraine having the early edge with a two-goal lead soon after the start.
Switzerland’s Carmen Jund equalised at 4:4 but the advantage soon swung back in Ukraine’s direction. However Switzerland had now found their rhythm, and goals by Tabea Schmid and Celia Heinzer gave them an 11:9 lead going into the dressing room.
Ukraine came back stronger and after 12 minutes of the second half were in the lead again by a single goal. By the closing minutes the match was once again level but at 21:21 SWISs right back Malin Altherr netted to give her team the lead with a minute on the clock. The SWISs defence swung into action and blocked every attempt Ukraine made at scoring.
As the buzzer went Ukraine were handed a penalty, but facing the SWISs wall Yevheniia Kohuch went high – giving Switzerland the 22:21 victory.
Heinzer was Switzerland’s top scorer with eight goals; Diana Dmytryshyn scored six for Ukraine.