Kazakhstan finally open account with win in Asian derby against Iran

11 Dec. 2023

Kazakhstan finally open account with win in Asian derby against Iran

A tough fight between Kazakhstan and the Islamic Republic of Iran saw the former side clinch a 33:29 win, going into the Placement Match 29/30, while Iran are now aiming to avoid a last-place finish, by winning their maiden match in their history at the IHF Women's World Championship.

President’s Cup Group II
Islamic Republic of Iran vs Kazakhstan 29:33 (15:17)

Kazakhstan were off to a good start and ten minutes into the game they had already created a three-goal gap (7:4). However, two two-minute suspensions in quick succession and multiple misses hampered any progress and allowed the Islamic Republic of Iran to cut the deficit (8:9) even though their shooting efficiency was stuck at a meagre 38%.

Teams were in sort of a lock-up until the 18th minute of the match, mainly thanks to a superb performance of Iran's Fatemeh Merikh, who was named the hummel Player of the Match, who scored half of Iran's first-half goals. But Kazakhstan finally powered ahead and gained a new four-goal lead (15:11), only for Iran to cut back the gap and enter the break with a two-goal deficit, 15:17.

The Islamic Republic of Iran kept fighting in the second half and, with their best performance at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, kept the pressure high and never fell behind by more than four goals. Goalkeepers also had a significant role in the score, as Kazakhstan's Zhannat Aitenova ended the day with 16 saves, while Fatemeh Khalili Behfar had 13.

Yet Iran's desire to make a turnaround in the last ten minutes of the game produced some mistakes, with attacks ending up in multiple turnovers. Kazakhstan took advantage of the opponent's mistakes and with the help of Veronika Sitnikova got back on a four-goal lead, which stayed intact until the end, 33:29.

Kazakhstan finally ended their five-game losing streak at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023 and will face the winner of the Paraguay and Greenland in the Placement Match 29/30, while the Islamic Republic of Iran will seek a historic first win against the losing side between Paraguay and Greenland.

hummel Player of the Match: Fatemeh Merikh (Islamic Republic of Iran)