Group winners set for Sunday showdown in Tbilisi
The final of the Women's 17 EHF Championship in Georgia on Sunday will be between group winners the Netherlands and Serbia after they won their respective semi-finals on Friday in Tbilisi.
In Friday's first semi-final, the Netherlands withstood a huge challenge from the Faroe Islands (24:21) to book their place in the final. Group B winners Serbia had a more comfortable time in the second semi-final as they beat Ukraine by six goals (33:27).
- Netherlands faced a far sterner examination against the Faroe Islands than in three previous matches on court in Tiblisi, which they had won by a combined 101 goals
- goalkeepers Nikka van der Vorst (Netherlands) and Silja Arngrímsdóttir Müller (Faroe Islands) were named as the best players in the match
- Lukka Arge scored eight goals for the Faroe Islands, while Jalisha Loy (seven goals) and Alieke van Maurik (six goals) led the Netherlands in attack
After five minutes of the first semi-final in Georgia, it appeared as though another comprehensive victory for the Netherlands was a distinct possibility. With two early goals from Jalisha Loy and two saves made by Nikki van der Vorst, the Netherlands took a 3:0 lead.
However, a seven-minute goalless period for the Netherlands allowed the Faroe Islands to claim the lead for the first time, 5:4, in the 15th minute. Contributions in attack from Alieke Van Maarik and Romee Maarschalkerweerd ensured that the Netherlands had a three-goal lead again in the 23rd minute, 11:8, but goalkeeper Silja Arngrímsdóttir Müller’s saves continued to thwart the Netherlands.
As little separated the sides midway through the second half, a fierce contest between the goalkeepers ensued. Silja Arngrímsdóttir Müller frequently denied the Netherlands, but Dutch goalkeeper Nikki van der Vorst had the final say. With the score at 19:17, van der Vorst stopped a penalty from Lukka Arge before she scored an empty net goal that restored her side’s three-goal cushion.
Alieke Van Maarik was shown a red card in the 57th minute after receiving her third two-minute suspension, but it had no impact on the result.
- group B winners Serbia held a five-goal lead (10:5) after 19 minutes and remained in control for the rest of the match
- three players scored five goals each for Serbia, who did not have to rely on one player to shoulder the scoring burden, while Karina Soskyda scored nine times from 18 shots for Ukraine
- Milica Acimovic was named as Serbia's best player; Valeriia Nesterenko received the award for Ukraine
Despite the second semi-final finishing with a total of 60 goals scored, Serbia's defensive performance in the first half was the catalyst for their six-goal win against Ukraine. Ably supported by goalkeeper Anja Cvetkovic, Serbia conceded just two goals in the first 11 minutes as they established a four-goal advantage.
Ukraine's attack relied primarily on Valeriia Nesterenko and Karina Soskyda. With a more balanced attack, Serbia used their greater variety of scoring options effectively throughout the first half and maintained a four-goal lead at half-time.
At the beginning of the second half, Serbia right wing Dunja Radevic scored three times in eight minutes. As Ukraine's reliance on Soskyda grew as the match progressed, Serbia capitalised at the other end of the court. A 3:0 run for Serbia in less than two minutes, which included two fast break goals from Anja Vujnovic, extended Serbia's lead to an unassailable nine goals, 28:19, in the 52nd minute.
Other results on Friday
Cross matches 5-8
Italy vs Georgia 30:12 (18:4)
Luxembourg vs Estonia 20:25 (8:13)