Solid defence lifts Hungary to important win

07 Dec. 2023

Solid defence lifts Hungary to important win

Hungary were dominant throughout their match with Senegal and eventually cruised to a 10-goal victory, 30:20, improving their chances of progression to the quarter-finals.
Main round Group I
Senegal vs Hungary 20:30 (8:14)

After a frustrating loss in their previous match against Montenegro, Hungary were determined to bounce back and their plan went like a charm against Senegal, as Vladimir Golovin's team stay in contention for a quarter-final spot.

The African side rose to prominence in the group stage, showing some quality handball against Croatia and Sweden, in a draw and a loss respectively, and beating People's Republic of China in the last match. But they were shut down in the opening 20 minutes against Hungary, whose superb defence lifted the Europeans to a commanding 11:2 lead.

Senegal failed to score a single goal between minutes 10 and 21, but they showed signs of improvement towards the end of the first half. Just like in their previous matches, Soukeina Sagna led by example in attack, and her five goals before the break helped the African team to cut the deficit to 8:14.

In the first half, Senegal were restricted to just 16 shots, and although they enjoyed somewhat more freedom in attacks after the restart, it was Hungary who firmly held the initiative. A 4:0 run propelled by Katrin Klujber's goals lifted them to a 19:10 lead in the 36th minutes, and five minutes later, the gap between the sides reached double digits at 22:12, signalling it was game over.

Hungary rotated their squad, saving energy for their crucial matches against Sweden and Croatia, and, as they failed to score for six minutes, Senegal reduced the gap to 16:23. Golovin called for a time-out to lift his players up, and they were soon back on track, winning with exactly the same 30:20 score as at Japan 2019, when the two teams first met at this level. 

Sagna became Senegal's top scorer with eight goals and added just as many assists to her tally, while on the opposite side, Klujber scored seven of her nine goals from 7m shots. And the Hungarian goalkeeper Blanka Biro was replaced by Zsofi Szemerey towards the end of the game, but the latter almost immediately collided with an opponent and suffered an injury – so Biro had to return on court and ended the game with 15 saves and a 43% save rate. 

Hungary have now four points before their clashes against Sweden and Croatia, while Senegal have only virtual chances of progression, with a point after their first main round match, in another well-balanced main round group in Gothenburg.

hummel Player of the Match: Soukeina Sagna (Senegal)