Women’s handball: Romania defeats Russia 26-25 in European qualifiers, tops the group

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The national women’s handball team of Romania defeated Russia (the reigning Olympic champion) in a dramatic match on Sunday, score 26-25, in a match counting for the EURO 2018 qualifiers, played in Cluj-Napoca.

Romania is now 99 percent qualified to the European Championship in France, ranking first in the 4th qualifying group, with 6 points in four games.

The first half was one in which Romania dominated the game, leading by 4 goals in certain moments and by 3 goals at halftime 15-12.

The beginning of the second half was a black-out for the national team, who seemed to lose control of the game. Romania had the first attack, got to lead by 16-13, but then Russia scored 6 consecutive goals to lead 19-16.

Eliza Buceschi was the driver of Romania’s comeback in the second half, with 6 goals scored and an excellent attitude, considering that Neagu was too well guarded by the Russian defensive.

The final was dramatic, and the decisive goal was scored by Crina Pintea, after a great pass from Cristina Neagu.

In the standings, Romania and Austria have 6 points in 4 games, while Russia is third with 4 points. There are two more matches to play, with Romania to play in Vienna on May 31, and the last game will be at home against Portugal on June 3.

The first two teams qualify to the European Championship in France, which will take place this year in December, and the advantage of being on the first place is that we will be seeded for the draw.

Scorers: Buceschi 6 goals, Dragut 4, Neagu 4, Chiper 4, Pintea 3, Bacaoanu 2, Oltean 1, Udristoiu 1, Florica 1.

Teams:

Romania: Dedu, Dumanska – goalkeepers; Udristioiu, Pristavita, Buceschi, Neagu, Florica, Laslo, A.M. Popa, L. Popa, Pintea, Bacaoanu, Zamfirescu, Bazaliu, Chiper, Dragut.

Russia: Kalinina, Trusova, Utkina – goalkeepers; Kuznetsova, Matlashova, Dmitrieva, Samokhina, Makeeva, Vedekhina, Sabirova, Managarova, Maslova, Frolova, Snopova, Barkalova, Makina.

Last week, Romania was defeated by Russia 30-25 (17-15), in Togliatti.

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