Strong start helps Russia snap five-game losing streak
Russia jumped to a perfect start at the EHF EURO 2022, taking the lead early and never looking back against Lithuania, securing a 29:27 win, as group F threw off in Košice.
Russia vs Lithuania 29:27 (14:9)
- Russia started the EHF EURO with a win for the first time since 2010 and also snapped a five-game losing streak, their longest in history in the competition, in the process
- a 6:0 early run in the first half, fueled by two fast breaks converted by captain Daniil Shishkarev was the backbone of Russia’s first win in six years at the EHF EURO
- goalkeeper Victor Kireev delivered a superb performance, with a 40 per cent saving efficiency in the first half, as Lithuania collapsed due to their 10 turnovers in the first 30 minutes
- Lithuania tried to mount a comeback in the second half to seal their second-ever win at the EHF EURO, but could only cut the gap to one goal, 28:27, with only five seconds left in the game
- Russia’s left back, Sergei Mark Kosorotov, was the top scorer of the game, with nine goals, while goalkeeper Victor Kireev was awarded the Grundfos Player of the Match award
Lithuania fall short of astonishing comeback
As Lithuania failed to find their rhythm in attack, turning the ball over seven times in the first 16 minutes, Russia found it easy to take advantage and punished their opponents on the fast breaks, securing their fifth win in as many games against the Baltic side.
But as Russia were preparing to secure their biggest win at the EHF EURO since 2004, creating a seven-goal gap, complacency creeped in and helped Lithuania attempt a comeback.
However, Russia’s 65 per cent attacking efficiency and a flawless game from left back Sergei Mark Kosorotov, were just enough to seal the win and give them a strong chance of progressing to the main round.
On the other hand, Lithuania face a must-win game against Slovakia and, to stand a chance, they really need to avoid allowing their opponents big unanswered runs.
"An important factor was the mentality of the players, because they lacked the decisive factor in the last minutes, when Lithuania was close to tie the game. We need to improve that. Lithuania were very aggressive and I was impressed on how they played," said Russia's head coach Velimir Petkovic.
"It was a really good game from both sides. It was our first game after 24 years at the EHF EURO. Everybody came a bit slow in the first part, but in the second half we were back in action and we started playing better and better. If the game would have lasted two or three more minutes, the result would have been different," commented Lithuania coach Mindaugas Andriuska.