The second round of the Main Round brought a Balkan classic in Group I in Nantes: Serbia met Montenegro on Monday evening. There was a lot to win or lose: the winner could be still in race for the semifinal, while the loser would eventually lose the chance to continue in the top 4 of the competition. The match had a hectic start as goals were following each other very quickly, and it seemed Montenegro was the team to come out of the rush better: right after the first 8 minutes they had a 3-goal lead (4-7). However, Katarina Krpez Slezak’s excellent performance – she scored 12 goals overall – brought back the Serbian hopes as they managed to equalize before the end of the first quarter of the match (9-9). In the following period, the Serbians had control over the game, and as Montenegro was unable to score for 10 minutes, the Serbian advantage grew to 4 goals (14-10), even though Serbian goalkeeper Katarina Tomasevic suffered a seemingly serious knee injury. Before the halftime whistle, Montenegro managed to break the no-goal curse but Serbia remained in front (15-12).
Not much changed for the beginning of the second half: Serbia managed to keep the advantage while Montenegro tried everything to turn the match around. Montenegro was closing on on the opponent and Serbia wasn’t able to make a bigger advantage, and entering the last quarter of the match, the two teams couldn’t decide (19-19). For the first time after a long period, Montenegro took back the lead in the 51th minute (23-24). By that time, Djurdjina Jaukovic and Milena Raicevic found the way to the goal and this turned out to be decisive. In the final minutes, Montenegro had the match in their hands as Serbia was struggling. In the last minute, even though Serbia had a ball to make it a deserved draw, they lost the ball and Montenegro won the match with the smallest possible margin (27-28). Montenegro’s hopes for the semifinals are still alive, while Serbia is out of the race for the podium.
EHF EURO 2018 – Main Round Group I – Round 2
Serbia – Montenegro 27-28 (15-12)
Serbia: K. Krpez Slezak 12(4), D. Radojevic 5, J. Lavko 4, S. Pop-Lazic 2, J. Stoiljkovic 2, A. Lekic 2
Montenegro: M. Mehmedovic 6, M. Raicevic 6, D. Jaukovic 6(1), J. Radicevic 5, K. Bulatovic 3, I. Grbic 1, T. Brnovic 1
Penalties: 4/4 ; 1/1
Suspension: 4 minutes ; 6 minutes
Player of the match: Milena Raicevic (Montenegro)