Slovenia take commanding win against Algeria
12 Mar. 2021
The second match of Tokyo Handball Qualification 2020 – Tournament 3 saw Slovenia claim a 36:28 win against the only non-European team in the tournament, Algeria.
After Germany and Sweden drew in the first match, Slovenia now take the top spot in the table, leading with two points on their account.
Slovenia vs Algeria 36:28 (17:11)
Slovenia faced some injury problems prior to the tournament, playing without left backs Nik Henigman and Borut Mackovsek as well as left wing Tilen Kodrin. The loss of the players on the left side was compensated perfectly by the right side, which – in person of Jure Dolenec, Dragan Gajic and Blaz Janc – scored 11 of the 17 goals in the first half.
Slovenia started better into the match against the only African team in the group, leading comfortably at 7:2 10 minutes into the game. Two goals from Algerian right wing Redouane Saker were followed by a great save from goalkeeper Khalifa Ghedbane, which could directly be turned into another goal for the African side.
After the first quarter, the team led by coach Alain Portes came all the way back and a brilliant behind-the-back pass from Abdi Ayoub to Oussem Boudjenah marked the 6:7. ‘Les Fennecs’ were also missing key players such as Daoud Hichem and Moustapha Hadj Saouk, who proved to be very effective from the back court during the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship.
Slovenia right wing Janc ended a scoreless seven-minute period with his first from five goals. Only one minute later, Algerian Sofiane Bendjilali saw the first red card of this tournament after plucking centre back Miha Zarabec from the air. Shortly after, Zarabec answered with an in-flight goal after a superb pass from Janc.
“It was very important to start successful into this tournament. We have the better team on paper and we showed it on court as well. We led from the beginning and at the end it was a well-deserved victory,” said Zarabec.
Within two minutes Janc and Messaoud Berkous were trading goals, with the latter scoring triple and the first one twice.
One of the three debutants for Algeria, 19-year-old right wing Elias Bahna, who plays for the Swiss club US Yverdon, scored his first international goal with three minutes left in the first half.
The African side had the better start into the second half with a 3:1 run, accompanied by two saves from Ghedbane. While left back Abdi Ayoub and Berkous scored for ‘Les Fennecs’, another Slovenian left-handed player found his way on the scoresheet, as Gasper Marguc scored at 18:13.
Even though they were in full control, Slovenia were not able to increase the lead. Left wing Tadej Mazej, who celebrated his national team debut on Tuesday against Poland, netted in twice and on the other side another Algerian debutant, left wing Walid Badi, scored one of his three goals in the 45th minute.
Slovenia head coach Ljubomir Vranjes used the match to rotate his squad, giving playing time to most of the players. On the other side, Alain Portes relied on Ayoub and Berkous, who, combined, scored half of the Algerian goals.
Photo: Marco Wolf/DHB