03 Dec. 2021
An inspired first half performance from goalkeeper Amra Pandzic ensured Bojana Popovic’s Montenegro could not get the better of their former coach Dragan Adzic and his Slovenia side as the shotstopper saved 11 times in the first 30 minutes.
The one-woman brick wall ensured an eight-goal half-time lead and there was no reverse repeat of their clash from the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, when Slovenia almost clawed back an eight-goal deficit (15:23) with 15 minutes remaining.
Montenegro vs Slovenia 18:28 (8:16)
Ahead of this game, all the talk was about legendary Montenegro and Buducnost coach Dragan Adzic facing his old side and many of his former players – not least the head and assistant coaching team of Montenegro in Bojana Popovic and Maja Savic.
However, for Adzic, he was more concerned about the fitness of key players, including Amra Pandzic.
He did not need to worry though as Pandzic racked up 14 saves, allowing him to rest superstar Ana Gros for the entire second half.
By that time though the damage had been done – including six goals from Gros – and even though Pandzic impressed in goal, the defensive line of the Slovenians held strong with the Montenegrins only managing one breakthrough on the line and their own goalkeeping ending the first period with just three saves.
Nina Zulic made the difference double figures on the 40-minute mark (22:12) a sweet strike considering she plays her club handball with a number of players from the Montenegro side in Turkey and the lead stayed that distance until the final whistle in a frustrating opening day for the Montenegrins, whose fifth place finish at the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship was their best ever.
While Montenegro are undergoing a post-Olympic Games turnaround in players, their inspirational captain Jovanka Radicevic is one strong fixture and her leadership and skills will be key going forward as her side look towards getting off the mark next time out, against Angola on Sunday. She top-scored in the match with seven strikes.
hummel Player of the Match: Amra Pandzic, Slovenia