17 Aug. 2019
Egypt were the team to make history in the battle of IHF Men’s Youth World Championship semi-final debutants, as they defeated Portugal thanks to a powerful second half that saw them turn a one-goal edge into a commanding victory on Saturday night.
Though they will not contest the trophy, Portugal nevertheless have the chance to win their first medal in the competition, on what is only their second participation. Egypt’s previous best in the Youth World Championship was fifth place, in 2007 and 2011. They have therefore already recorded a historic result, but will still hope to crown their campaign with the title.
Egypt vs Portugal 41:36 (20:19)
Egypt steadily built their performance as the match progressed, with a slow start seeing them behind 3:7 in the 10th minute before they fought back to claim the edge in time for the break. In the second half, the African champions were far more powerful than their opponents, creating a lead of eight goals at 31:23 in the 45th minute and surviving Portugal’s determined attempts to turn the tide of the match.
Portugal had a stronger start to the game, scoring three unanswered goals before Egypt made their way onto the score board. The three opening goals came from two of Portugal’s backs, Salvador Salvador and Martim Costa, highlighting problems in Egypt’s defence immediately. As it turned out, it was not a match for either side’s defence to stand out, as a total of 77 goals were scored in the 60 minutes.
Both teams’ first goalkeepers had trouble stopping the onslaught of goals against them. Egypt’s Abdelrahman Mohamed Homayed – who made the most saves in the Youth World Championship up until the semi-finals – was replaced after just one stop, on a penalty, in the opening 10 minutes. His replacement, Momen Hossameldin (10 saves total), had a big impact on entry to the court, with three saves off the first four shots faced.
Hossameldin’s saves paved the way for Egypt to come back into the game, and once the African champions levelled for the first time at 9:9 at the end of the first quarter, it was a level fight until half-time. Egypt edged in front before the break, and a 5:0 partial to open the second period saw them firmly claim the momentum at 25:19 in the 35th.
Both teams have relied on their back courts to provide strong leadership throughout North Macedonia 2019, and the semi-final was no different. Egypt captain and centre back Ahmed Hesham Elsayed scored 11 goals in the game, while left back Hassan Walid Ahmed tallied nine. For Portugal, left back Salvador went on to a total of nine goals and Costa scored seven.
Portugal also had to replace their goalkeeper, as usual starter Alexandre Magalhaes made only two saves out of 14 against him. Francisco Oliveira saved no less than three penalties in the game and recorded a total of 12, but Egypt’s attack was too powerful for Portugal to counter. Though Portugal managed to reduce the deficit of eight goals that stood with 15 minutes on the clock, the outcome was clearly decided before the whistle.
Player of the match: Ahmed Hesham Elsayed, Egypt