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Noticias Detalles

Date: 13/04/2019

Youth (U19) Competition: Saturday 13 April

The semi-final stage of the 2018-19 IHF Men’s Trophy Intercontinental Phase featured two highly emotional matches in the youth competition as the tournament reaches its conclusion in Pristina, Kosovo.

In the first semi-final the previously unbeaten Canadians fell at the hands of a relaxed and effective Nigerian side while the home fans were disappointed as a blistering and fast-paced Chinese Taipei led for the whole match.

The day also saw Paraguay finally get a win, beating New Zealand in the 5/6 placement match.

Semi-Final: Canada vs Nigeria 25:32 (10:18)

Nerves were apparent in the opening game of the day at the Palace of Youth and Sports with eight turnovers between these two teams in the first three-and-a-half minutes. Just after the seventh minute Canada coach Ludovic Roucoulet had taken his first team time-out with his side 4:0 down already.

Nigeria were proving to be the biggest test for the North American side, playing a highly-pressed open defence with a quick counter.

Before the game, the squad had been in relaxed mood, dancing along to the warm-up music and the mood reflected on court as they fluidly cut through the physical Canadian defence.

At 10:6 down, Canada’s woes were further compounded when Zachary Ouallouche tried a small dink over the top of the Nigerian goalkeeper with a seven-metre penalty, but it sailed way over – a metaphor for Canada’s chances of coming back into this clash as Nigeria aimed to get a 10-goal lead by the break. They did not quite make double figures, reaching nine at one point, but went in to the break eight goals ahead (18:10).

The second half saw Canada try and get the deficit down, but the damage had been done, even though they came within four early on (19:15 – 38th minute). With a quarter of the game left it was over as a contest (26:17) and Nigeria could breathe a sigh of relief as they started to have one eye on the final.

“I am very proud of my team,” said Nigeria coach Emeka Joseph Nnanami. “My players have played very well and played what we have taught them from home. We came here today, and they played tactically and technically all they have been taught. I am happy for them.”

Ouallouche ended topping the scoring charts for Canada with eight strikes, while Hakeem Damilare Salami put in a leading performance, scoring 11 times.

Semi-Final: Chinese Taipei vs Kosovo 35:26 (17:13)

At the end of this highly-charged match, Chinese Taipei, with a nine-goal lead, took their foot off of the gas, knowing their job was done and protecting themselves from possible injury or suspension.

The stats made the tactics of this game clear, at least from an attacking point of view – the Asian side had eight goals from fast-breaks, while the Europeans had zero. Chinese Taipei were simply too fast in their game and Kosovo could not match them for the whole 60 minutes, despite the best efforts tactically and emotionally. 

Kosovo’s first time-out came after 17 minutes as they found themselves down by four (10:6), and they readjusted, bringing the game level at 10:10, but this only inspired Taipei, who went five ahead in the next three minutes (15:10 – 24th minute) and they would not be caught again in the remainder of the half – or the game.

“It was an average performance,” said coach Li Chun-Yu after the match. “There are still some things we need to do better, especially on defence.”

Despite Pin Sheng Chiu receiving a red card for his third two-minute suspension late on, Lin Shao Yan Yang (nine goals) and Yen Po Hsieh, directing, led their team to victory against a host team whose 10 strikes from dangerman Ylli Muqolli were one of the positives to be had from the defeat.

5/6 Placement Match: Paraguay vs New Zealand 23:20 (14:9)

Paraguay grabbed their first win at Kosovo 2019 to register fifth place, defeating New Zealand in a match which saw a dramatic final minute in which New Zealand could have drawn even.

After coming within one goal (21:20) in the last 60 seconds, Max Brookes could only see his shot blocked which would have made it 21:21 and his side lost their chance to get something from Pristina themselves.

The first half saw Sergio Antonino Cespedes Alvarenga score four times and Brookes score five of his eventual eight goals as they both led their sides from the front. 

Paraguay had pulled ahead at 5:2 after just 10 minutes but the Oceania side came back to 7:6 down through Paul Ireland and Brookes, a one-goal deficit which stayed until the 18th minute (8:7). However just over five minutes later it was five in favour of the South Americans (12:7 – 25th minute).

The last 20 minutes saw New Zealand gradually cut back the deficit from 17:11 behind to 19:18 with six minutes left but they could just not get that crucial equaliser and finish in sixth place.

Photo: Shpend Ahmeti/Kosovo Handball Federation