Alexandria, 16 January 2021- Asian champions Qatar started their campaign in the 27th IHF Men’s World Handball Championship with a thrilling 30-25 win over Angola at Alexandria’s Borg Al Arab Sports Hall.
Yesterday's win also earned Qatar the lead in their Group after Japan forced a surprise draw against Croatia in the other Group C fixture last night.
Al Annabi snatched a 14-13 lead over Angola in the first half, in a tense 30 minutes that saw lots of action.
In the second period Qatar, coached by Valero Rivera, continued putting on a superb show and snatched the victory over Angola with score 30-25.
Qatar’s star Ahmed Madadi claimed the ‘Player of the Match Award’ after a superb performance during the game, which saw him score eight goals out of nine trials.
“We achieved a great victory over Angola after losing in the previous edition,” coach López said after the game.
“We succeeded this time despite the absence of more talented players thanks to the current squad's effort during the game,” the Spaniard added.
The hero for Qatar in yesterday's match, Madadi said: “I am happy with the victory especially it comes despite losing six talented players due to injuries.”
“We will do our best to improve performance in the coming games as we did well and managed to claim the victory,” the Qatari star added.
Angola coach Nelson Damião Catito said he was satisfied with the performances of his team despite the loss.
“We played well in the start of the game as the first period finished with a narrow lead for our opponents,” Catito said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t put on the same performance we achieved in the first period so Qatar snatched the victory,” the Angola coach added.
Qatar will face Japan in the second round of Group C games tomorrow, while Angola will take on Croatia in the same day.
The Japanese team took the European runner-ups Croatia by surprise leading them to a 29:29 draw later at the same venue.
Japan, the third-ranked team at the Asian Championship, took the lead for the first 50 mins of the game. The Japanese ended the first half 17:14.
The second period saw more progress from the Croatians who put on more pressure on their tough opponents. The last ten minutes of the game were crucial as both teams fought hard and battled-it-out goal by goal, each aiming to snatch the win, until the game ended with a 29-29 draw.
Japan's Agarie Yuto received the 'Player of the Match Award' after a distinguished performance.
Meanwhile, The European champions opened their Egypt 2021 campaign with a draw against Brazil.
Despite leading the first period 16-13, Spain couldn't keep it up in the second period as the final score read of 29-29.
It was Brazil who went out in search of parity and could have turned the tables, but the two sides couldn't make any periods of dominance count in a conclusive manner. Spain could have taken the lead in the dying embers of the match with a 7m shot that was ultimately saved by the opposition keeper.
Elsewhere, in Cairo, Argentina opened their World Championship campaign in Group D with a 28:22 win against the Democratic Republic of Congo. In a closely fought encounter, the two sides kept it tight in the first period to produce a scoreline so tight, 14-13 for the African nation, as both sides took the lead several times ahead of the other.