Cyprus and Georgia on top after day one
The Men’s IHF/EHF Trophy 2021 threw off in Tbilisi on Monday, with Cyprus and Georgia the first to earn victories in their respective groups. After Cyprus enjoyed a comfortable win against Bulgaria in group A, 29:23, Georgia recorded a dominant victory against Azerbaijan in group B, 36:16.
Alongside the trophy up for grabs in Tbilisi, the six teams contesting the event are also fighting for three places in the EHF EURO 2024 relegation round. At the end of the IHF/EHF Trophy group phase, the two top-ranked teams in each group will continue to the semi-finals.
- Cyprus opened the competition with a win in the first match, 29:23 versus Bulgaria, after leading 12:9 at half-time
- Cyprus had the advantage from the 14th minute on and survived a brief comeback from Bulgaria early in the second period before taking firm control through to the final buzzer
- recent EHF European Cup Men semi-finalists with Sabbianco Anorthosis Famagusta, Julios Argyrou and Christos Argyrou, were key for Cyprus with a combined 13 goals
- Georgia took the upper hand from the outset against Azerbaijan, reaching a 10-goal advantage in the 28th minute, leading 18:7 at half-time and proceeding to a decisive 20-goal win, 36:16
- the top scorer of the competition after day one is Georgia's Irakli Kbilashvili, who netted 12 times against Azerbaijan
- Georgia are the defending champions of sorts, having won the IHF Emerging Nations’ Championship in 2019 on home soil. Their strong showing in round 1 places them among the favourites to raise the current trophy
In group A, Cyprus will meet Andorra in their second and final group phase match, on Tuesday, while Bulgaria will take on the same opponents on Wednesday. In group B, Georgia will play Moldova on Tuesday, before Azerbaijan and Moldova wrap up the group on Wednesday.