20120429 CRO SVK 5

Late run paves winners’ way for Croatia

EHF / Björn Pazen

Only one day after their clear 32:24 victory over Slovakia on Wednesday, Croatia were close to their first defeat in the EHF EURO Cup against the same opponent. A strong comeback in the last quarter of the game prevented the EHF EURO 2020 runners-up from a loss - now everything is set for a true final on Saturday.

On the other hand, EHF EURO 2022 hosts Slovakia fought hard, but are still waiting for their first points.

Croatia vs Slovakia 26:23 (12:13)

  • Croatian head coach Hrvoje Horvat gave top stars including Domagoj Duvnjak and Igor Karacic time to rest and tested the depth of his bench
  • Croatia were more or less constantly ahead in the first half, except right before the half-time buzzer, when the Slovaks turned a 7:10 deficit into the 13:12 half-time lead
  • after the break, the visitors forged ahead to three three-goal advances until 21:18 - which was the turning point
  • thanks to a double strike from wing Vlado Matanovic, the Croats took the upper hand and scored a 8:1 run from 18:21 to a decisive 26:22 within 15 minutes
  • after seven goals against Croatia, Slovakia’s Patrik Hruscak is on 24 goals in total – second in the EHF EURO CUP top scorer list below Dominik Mathe (Hungary/30)

Everything prepared for the final battle

The Veszprém arena will host a clash of the titans on Saturday, the true final of the EHF EURO CUP. Croatia and Hungary are on eight points each, but the Croats have played one match less and won all four, including the direct encounter in the first leg, 31:27.

This means that a draw is already enough for the Croats to win this competition, succeeding Spain who won the last EHF EURO CUP.

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