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09/12/2014

Thorsgaard's last-second goal paves Denmark's way to the main round

MATCH REPORT: A stellar performance by Romania's Adriana Tacalie and Cristina Neagu was not enough to threaten Denmark who needed a last-second effort to reach a 29:29 draw in Group B

Photo: Marius Ionescu

There were three seconds left on the clock when Danish line player Susan Thorsgaard put all her efforts in a last shot, which hit the back of the net and not only granted Denmark a 29:29 draw, but also a berth in the main round of the Women's EHF EURO 2014.

Romania had been leading for major parts of the match, but in the end they visibly ran out of steam, while Denmark started to make the most of their chances and fought themselves back into a game that - at times - seemed to be lost for them.

"I just rushed to the other end of the court and turned around," said Thorsgaard about her last-second goal.

"I didn't know how much time there was left and then I just got a big hug from Mette (Gravholt) and see the time has run out. It was just a big realisation and great that I scored and we got the one point."

Not even 20 goals altogether from Romania's right back Grabiela Tacalie and Cristina Neagu - they scored ten goals each - were enough to see Romania winning in the end.

"We missed our chance, and Denmark scored in the last second. I’m very disappointed, most of the game we played very well, we were in front the whole game," Neagu said.

"We deserved to win, but this is handball and in the end we did not play well enough."

However, at the beginning Romania got exactly the start they needed after their 19:27 opening defeat against Norway on Sunday.

A determined effort gave them a 4:0 lead before the Danes got their first goal after almost five minutes had been played.

The Danish attack faced extremely hard working conditions against a physically strong and movable Romanian 6-0 defence, and on top of this, the Danes were not patient enough to wait for the right chances, but tended to shoot too early, which made it easy for Paula Ungureanu in the Romanian goal.

2In the Romanian attack it was back court ace Adriana Tacalie who pulled the strings.

It is often said that a right handed hand back makes a team's attacking play awkward, but that was definitely not the case in Romania's and Tacalie's case in Debrecen.

Apparently, the Danish defence was not really prepared for the 25-year-old right back, who - despite being right handed - scored six goals from only seven attempts in the first half, and ten in the match overall which made her best player of her team.

As the experienced playmaker Aurelia Brandeanu organised the Romanian attacking play very well, and as Cristina Neagu became better and better during the first half, Romania stayed in the lead.

The Danish attack did improve during the first 30 minutes, mainly due a better pace and more patience, but that did not help the Danes, as the Romanians kept scoring.

Towards the end of the half, Romania were five goals up at 16:11, before the Danes reduced to the half-time score of 16:12.

Romania's coach Gheorghe Tadici played with almost the same players throughout the entire 60 minutes, and during the second half some of the key players seemed to be tired.

This was not only visible in attack but also in defence, where the Danes found gaps, in particular, on the right side of the defence.

Denmark's left wing Maria Fisker benefitted particularly from this by scoring eight goals and becoming her team's best player.

Already nine minutes and 40 seconds into the second half did Susan Thorsgaard bring Denmark back to level for the first time by equalising at 20:20.

The Romanians got ahead again by three, but once again the Danes fought back, and with nine and a half minutes left Mette Gravholt gave Denmark their first lead at 24:23.

Romania got up by two again (29:27), but in the end Thorsgaard secured one point, and even more decisive a main round berth, for her team.

written by Peter Bruun / ts

Photos

EHF EURO 2014 Medal Ceremony