GRAZ, 13 January 2020 – Croatia has gone through their group unbeaten at the 2020 European Men’s Handball Championship after victory against Serbia on Monday in Graz.
After victories against Montenegro and Belarus in the first two matches, Lino Cervar’s side faced Serbia in a match that was of no importance to either side. Croatia would come from behind at halftime to comfortably win in the end 24-21.
Croatia had goalie and man of the match Marin Sego to thank for the deficit at halftime being only two goals. Sego was in tremendous form, saving 8 shots in the opening spell to keep the score at 10-8 to Serbia as Croatia struggled on attack to find any openings.
Like it did in the opening match against Montenegro, the halftime team-talk had an effect as Croatia clawed back to level at 12-12 before taking the lead 15-14 when captain Domagoj Duvnjak stole the ball and finished off.
Sego continued to make crucial saves to deny Serbia on attack, and at the other end, Croatia finally found their range as Zlatko Horvat extended the lead to 17-14 as Croatia went on a 5-0 goal run.
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With 5 minutes remaining, Croatia lead 21-19 and when Luka Cindric and David Mandic found the back of the net to make it 23-19, victory was never in doubt.
Croatia heads onto the Main Round in Vienna taking with them a maximum 2 points from the group stages. They are likely to face Austria next on Thursday.
The 24-team European Men’s Handball Championship is being co-hosted for the first time in three countries, Austria, Norway and Sweden.