Group D: Sweden continue winning run thanks to last-second save
16 Jan. 2019
Qatar - Sweden 22:23 (10:11)
This night’s last game in Group D was between Qatar and the group leaders from Sweden. Before the game started, Sweden had the maximum points of six points out of the first three games. Qatar lost two of their last three games, so they needed a win today to advance to the Main Round.
The game started like many of the other games in this group: quite equal. It was clear that both teams knew the importance of the match. Palicka was in the goal and the arena was covered in yellow and blue. The atmosphere this night was buzzing, in the almost sold-out Royal Arena.
Sweden took an early lead but were behind when they got a penalty in the sixth minute. Tollbring equalised from the 7m-line, 2:2.
Qatar tried to play 7-against-6 in the following minutes. However, they did not succeed with this tactic. On the contrary, they were lucky that Sweden could not take advantage of it.
The Swedish goalkeeper continued showing his excellent form. After 18 minutes the score line was still levevl, 7:7. All along it was the keepers’ day today. It was difficult for the two teams to find the back of net. Line player Youssuf Ali showed the way and chipped the ball over Palicka – it was his third goal (9:9).
The end of the first half was very dramatic. Zachriasson levelled the game with just 10 seconds to go, however, Youssef Ali was able to give Qatar a lead again in the last second. Ali was tackled by Linus Arneson in a violent way, resulting in a red card and he was sent off.
The second half started with a goal for Rafael Capote and Qatar, which increased their lead but just the minute after Capote received a two-minute suspension. That gave Sweden a new boost. Lukas Nilsson could score his sixth goal of the match: 14:13 for Qatar.
Once again Royal Arena saw how good goalkeeper Andreas Palicka is, and they could see Mattias Zachrisson score three goals in a row. Now the scoreboard said 17:18 for Sweden in the 46th minute. Qatar had big problems breaking down the Swedish defence, and Saric made some important saves at the other end.
With nine minutes to go Ahmed Madadi scored for Qatar to make it 18:19; with few minutes to go Youssef Ali was suspended for two minutes, and Andreas Nilsson could score. Qatar looked tired, and at this point no one would have believed in a late comeback.
But with 20 seconds to go Qatar were playing for a draw. Symptomatic for Qatar, the shot was saved by Andreas Palicka, who once again, could be greeted as the big hero.
Sweden won the game 23:22 and remain undefeated in Group D.
hummel best player of the match: Mattias Zachrisson (SWE)
Statements after the match:
Swedish Coach, Kristjan Andreasson: It was an even match all the way. Both teams were in front. The game wasn’t, as we wanted it – credit to Qatar. Our Goalkeeper won the game for us.
Qatar Coach, Valero Rivera: I think that a draw would have been fair. But what can I say? We played against the whole arena, that’s sport. We showed how we could play. Both the keepers were amazing.
Sweden, Mikael Appelgren: Both teams played very well and were pretty even. I think the game was very good for the spectators. I’m very glad with the win and the two points today.
Danjiel Saric:, Qatar: Tough defeat today. I think, as our coach said, at least we deserved a point. We needed the win, but we have to congratulate Sweden with the win.