Tunisia pip Norway to second-best ranking

28 Jul. 2019

Tunisia pip Norway to second-best ranking

Ahead of this game, history was equal with whichever team winning equalling their second-best ranking at an IHF Men’s Junior World Championship. Norway had finished fourth in 1995 and seventh in 1993 while Tunisia ended in third place back in 2011, and seventh at Algeria 2017. In the end, Tunisia did enough in each half to take the victory.

Norway vs Tunisia 36:37 (15:16)
As Travesas Sports Hall, Vigo

With all Norwegian defensive eyes on Mohamed Amine Darmoul, fourth in the top-scorer rankings with 51 strikes going into the game, Ahmed Bannour took it upon himself to ensure that it was the North African side and not the Europeans who would be adding to their history.

His 11 goals were the most in the match for an individual player, although Simen Holand Pettersen, who has already stepped up to the Norwegian senior team, ran him close with 10.

In fact, it was goal number 11 for Bannour which decided this match in the end, in a second half which saw 42 goals scored in a frantic 30 minutes.

The first half was less frenetic, although Tunisia suffered a small setback when Noureddine Maoua was shown a direct red card after Pettersen had cut in from the left to set his sights on goal before being tackled by the Tunisian right back (5:5, 11th minute).

The game stayed relatively even until the 20th minute, but when the Norwegians went on a 3:0 run to make it 12:9, Tunisia coach Mohamed Ali Sghir called a time out to steady his troops, which they did, and they subsequently went on a 7:3 run in the final five minutes of the half to take a one-goal lead (16:15), as Norway’s Alexander Mitrovic could not do anything with a free throw after the buzzer had sounded. 

Bannour had already only scored four times at the break and his contribution in the second half would eventually ensure a win to take back home for his side who were 36:34 up with two minutes remaining before Norway came back again to level through Tord Lode (36:36).

But as the game was set to be decided by a shoot out, Norway’s top scorer at Spain 2019, Thomas Horneland Boilesen was overzealous in his defending, prompting his third two-minute suspension of the match, a red and seven metre to Tunisia to take as the buzzer sounded.

Bannour stepped up, took a breath and slotted home before running back down the length of the court in celebration with his teammates.

Best Player of the Match: Ghazi Ben Ghali (TUN)