23 Jan. 2019
The last day of Group II matches in the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship main round opened with a thrilling rematch of the 2018 African Championship final. At the continental event, Tunisia celebrated the title – but on Wednesday afternoon in Jyske Bank Boxen, Herning, it was Egypt who took the victory.
The result takes Egypt to three points on the table, where they await the result of the Hungary versus Norway clash to learn their fate regarding the final ranking in Group II.
Tunisia vs Egypt 23:30 (10:15)
Egypt coach David Davis mentioned in the press conference after their second main round match, versus Denmark, that his team are focused on growth. That goal was reflected in the starting line-up he chose for the traditional derby against Tunisia. Usual starting centre back Eslam Eissa, star right back Ahmed Elahmar and left back Ali Zeinelabedin began on the bench, while Ahmed Khairy, Yahia Omar and Yehia Elderaa stood on court.
Tunisia had a stronger start before Egypt goalkeeper Karim Hendawy began to cause significant trouble for their opponents. Hendawy made several saves in a row that helped turn the 3:1 game in Tunisia’s favour at the five-minute mark into a 4:3 lead for Egypt in the ninth minute. Tunisia fought their way back to the advantage, 6:4, at the end of the first quarter, and Davis brought in his more experienced players in the 17th minute.
That was a key turning point. Elahmar in particular was dangerous, scoring three goals in his first seven minutes on court and reclaiming a 9:8 lead for Egypt that prompted Tunisia coach Antonio Gerona Salaet to call a time-out. But the time-out appeared to work more in favour of Egypt, as the continental vice-champions pulled away to lead by five goals at the break.
Tunisia restarted the match with Ahmed Amine Bedoui in goal, and he has a strong performance – but Egypt were in control. After 40 minutes, they maintained their five-goal advantage. Tunisia saw a brief glimmer of hope when they closed the gap to 18:21 in the 50th minute, before Egypt streaked ahead to lead 28:20 with five minutes remaining. At that point the match was won.
Omar finished the game with seven goals to his name and earned the hummel player of the match award.
Statements after the match:
David Davis, coach Egypt: Today’s match was a tough one for my team. I don’t read the newspapers, but there was a lot of pressure on us. We tried for the seventh. place, but we doubted ourselves. I’m very happy with the result of both the tournament and today and I also have lots of respect for Tunisia.
Toni Gerona, coach Tunisia: Congratulations to the coach David Davis. He did a great job. This was a tough ending on the tournament for us. We kept being in the match for the first 20 minutes, but then we lost it. I apologise for us all because we gave up. I will take the responsibility for this as the coach. We tried to improve ourselves. Congratulations to Egypt.