01 Dec. 2019
It was the first half that decided the opening match in Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium at the 24th IHF Women’s World Championship on Sunday, as Spain created a decisive lead over Hungary in the first 30 minutes that set them with a comfortable advantage for the second.
Hungary could never come back from the deficit, and Spain collected their second set of two points to join Montenegro, who beat Kazakhstan earlier in the day, on four points. Hungary stay on two points following their win against Kazakhstan in round 1.
Spain vs Hungary 29:25 (18:13)
Just as they did versus Romania in round 1, Spain opened the match with a series of unanswered goals that forced Hungary coach Kim Rasmussen to call a time-out after just five minutes of play, 4:0. The start left Hungary with some work to do, and although they found their game and came close to their opponents late in the match, the distance proved too much to come back from.
After the first half ended with a six-goal advantage for Spain, who were led by stand-out games from back players Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa and Alicia Fernandez in the first period, the second half saw an equal contest with a score of 11:12 for those 30 minutes. Cabral reached the seven-goal mark before receiving a red card following three two-minute suspensions in the 43rd minute, at which point her side led 24:17.
Cabral’s absence did not initially seem to harm Spain’s chances, however. With 10 minutes remaining, her team maintained a five-goal lead, 25:20. Hungary fought hard, helped by a great game from goalkeeper Blanka Biro, whose saves included a double off a penalty and the subsequent rebound against her club teammate at FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, Nerea Pena, with 14 minutes on the clock.
With Cabral out, Hungary could afford to focus their defence on another back-court player, with Aniko Kovacsics marking out Pena. It was that system that proved the key, as Spain’s attack suffered and Hungary closed the gap. At the 55-minute mark, Spain maintained the lead, 26:23, but Hungary were threatening.
However, a two-minute suspension for Noemi Hafra ended Hungary’s chances of a comeback, as they could not close the gap further while at a numerical deficit. Spain reopened a clearer lead in the last minutes and collected their second win at Japan 2019.
hummel Player of the Match: Petra Tovizi, Hungary