Tense match between Hungary and Russia ends in a draw

MATCH REVIEW: Hungary began their EHF EURO 2014 campaign with an exciting 29:29 draw against Group A opponent Russia in Györ on Sunday

Photo: Uros Hocevar

New team captain Zsuzsanna Tomori proved she is up for the challenge of leading her national team when Hungary's EHF EURO 2014 campaign began with a 29:29 draw against Russia on Sunday night.

It was a nervous start to the game for both Hungary and Russia, with the first couple of minutes especially shaky in attack.

But when Hungarian Aniko Kovacsics scored the first goal of the match, the Audi Arena erupted and it was clear Russia were going to be facing the home crowd as well as their on-court opponents.

The Hungarian fans' joy was short-lived, as the goal was quickly answered by Russian Daria Dmitrieva. Three more Russian fast break goals followed in quick succession, giving the visitors an early lead of 1:4 by the fifth minute.

“We had all prepared to win this match, but I think at the end a draw is not too bad either. We still have many important matches ahead of us.

"We have time to solve our problems and to show what we’re truly capable of," said Krisztina Triscsuk.

A timeout called by coach Andras Nemeth helped the Hungarian side relax and play calmer attack. When Tomori scored her first goal (3:5) it seemed the home side would lift, but the Russians continued to pull ahead.

By the 18th minute the visitors were leading by four (5:9), seeming to have no problems at all finding their way through the Hungary defence.

Every Russian player was dangerous, with Ksenia Makeeva playing a superb match on the line, creating gaps for big shooters such as Daria Dmitrieva (seven goals total) and Anna Sen (five goals).

With the help of the vocal crowd, Hungary managed to slowly narrow the score line. A change in goalkeeper to Eva Kiss seemed to refresh their defence, and when Zita Szucsanszki scored with less than a minute in the half remaining, Hungary's attack appeared to finally be on track.

Russia took a one-goal lead into the break (14:15), and the second half promised to be an exciting one.

When the game resumed in the second period it was clear the real match had begun - Hungary were far more settled in attack and intimidating in defence.

The second half was a real fight between what were now two evenly matched sides, with the score going one for one most of the period.

With ten minutes remaining the score was still level (25:26). Hungary switched to a more aggressive defensive system as fresh goalkeeper Blanka Biro was performing exceptionally, creating a real challenge for Russia.

With two minutes remaining Hungary were ahead by two goals (29:27) when Tomori received a two-minute suspension. Russian right wing Yana Uskova equalised the score at 29:29 with ten seconds left, and when Hungary's final attack failed to convert to a goal, each team had to settle for the one point from a draw.

written by Courtney Gahan / ts


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