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Date: 5/25/2012

Whilst host France took the first hurdle at the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Lyon against Romania sovereign, Montenegro made a huge step towards London, too.



Tournament 1 in Lyon (France)

Montenegro vs. Japan 30:24 (14:13)

It took a long time, until the Japanese resistance was broken and it was a tough piece of work for the ladies from Montenegro: The Balkan team had their first two points on their account, as the brilliant fighting team from Japan missed the big sensation in the opener of the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Lyon, France.

Surprisingly the runners-up of the Asian Olympic qualification – led by their top star Shio Fujii - started better, and it took more than 15 minutes, before Montenegro had found their rhythm. But thinking that the Europeans – nearly identical with EHF Champions League winner Buducnost Podgorica - could be able to take the control after the 11:8 was wrong. Japan returned and even took back the lead at 18:17 in minute 38.

But then Montenegro became dominant, stopped the fast Japanese attacks and scored a pre-decisive series of 9:1 goals to 26:19. In this period especially wing player Jovanka Radicevic showed her strength in counter attacks. Though Japan was able to reduce the distance intermediately to only four goals the winner was known.

Top scorers for Montenegro were Katarina Bulatovic with eight goals and Bojana Popovic (7), aside goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarovic showed some impressive saves after the break. Fujii scored eight times – but the Europeans have made their first step towards London 2012. 



France vs. Romania 24:19 (12:9)

France made a great achievement on their way to London. The Silver medalist of the 2011 World Championship beat EHF EURO Bronze medalist Romania in an already decisive game on the way to London clearly in the end. Both teams had to replace their top stars due to injuries: Cristina Neagu (Romania) and Allison Pineau (France).

Supported by their frenetic spectators the host extended the distance early to four goals at 11:7 – mostly thanks to the in total 17 saves of brilliant goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, who will transfer to Romanian top club Oltchim Valcea next season. The Romanians reduced the gap after the break and were close to turn the game at 14:13 for the host, which then stopped the downswing especially by the goals of Sophie Herbrecht. Four minutes before the end everything was decided at the score of 23:17. Even six goals of Adina Meirosu could not bring a better result for Romania. Alexandra Lacabere was the top scorer of a perfectly balanced French team, which had their strengths in defence.