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Brazil shake off Spain threat to claim gold

Brazil shake off Spain threat to claim gold

Raajiv Tripathi
DOHA
Five-time world champions Brazil added another gold medal to their cupboard as the South Americans battled through the skin of their teeth for a come-from-behind victory in the men’s beach handball final at the ANOC World Beach Games on Wednesday.
At the Katara Cultural Village court, Brazil lost the opening set but they returned into the showdown with a thrilling second set and forced the penalty shoot out. Keeping the opponents under pressure, they wrapped up a thrilling 14-17, 19-18, 11-10 triumph.
Despite losing three matches in the group play, Spain resurrected their campaign during the knockout. Victories over European champions Denmark and Sweden catapulted the Spanish Armada into the final.
Everthing went in their favour in the first set when they shook off the mighty Brazil but the latter staged an amazing recovery to emerge the champions. They owe it to their specialist Bruno de Oliveira, who smashed 10 goals in 12 attempts.
Star player and pivot Gil Vicente de Paes Pires added seven in as many shots and Joao Paullo de Sousa had three to provide the needed push to Brazilian charge.
For Spain, right wing Alberto Castro Duarte was the top-scorer with eight strikes. Left wing Gonzalo de Vargas and pivot Juan Antonio Vazquez Diz netted six each to make the match thrilling to the finish.
Sweden land bronze
Earlier Qatar lost their intensity and focus before Sweden bounced back to claim the bronze medal through the penalty shootout victory.
The hosts, backed by a large and vocal crowd, clinched the opening set but suffered turn-overs in the second. Sweden maximized the opportunities and struck goals to put pressure on Qatar before taking the second set.
In the ensuing tie-breaker, Sweden struck through Lars Ekberg, Martin Kaeck, Johan Dahlqvist, Jesper Olofsson and Knut Johnson to collect nine points.
For Qatar, Mohamed Hassan, Mutasem Mohamed, Ahmed Morgan netted to get six points. Then when Sid Kenaoui stepped up to have a shy at the goal, Swedish player Kaeck, who plays as goalkeeper in regular handball, ran close up to the Qatari striker and blocked him to secure the victory.
Dahlberg, who struck four goals to tie with Dahlqvist as the top-scorer for his team, commented: “It is incredible to win the bronze medal in the World Beach Games. The match was quite tough and we lost the first set. But we came back strongly to finish third.
“We were fourth in the 2018 world championships in Kazan, narrowly missing out on the bronze medal. But in Qatar, we managed to get to the podium and we’re proud with the achievement,” he added.
Kaeck said, “I tried to use my abilities as the regular goalkeeper and closed the angle tight enough for the Qatari and did not allow him to score. It is amazing to contribute to the victory. We worked hard, though it was quite cold back home. We’re proud to go back with the bronze medal.”
Denmark women champs
In the women’s handball final, Denmark held off Hungary in two tight sets and grabbed the prestigious gold with a 21-19, 15-14 triumph as Line Kristensen excelled with eight goals.
Left wing Kristensen had only 10 attempts at the Hungary goal and she converted eight of them. She got a good support from Ann Cecilie Moeller, who slammed six in nine shots.
Melanie Fuglsbjerg and Frederikke Laerke added three each, which kept Hungary under constant pressure. Reka Kiraly had a match-high nine in 12 but among other players, Renata Csiki (four) and Fruzsina Kretz (three) could find the net.
Brazil did not have much trouble in pocketing the women’s bronze medal when they posted a comfortable 26-14, 23-18 victory against Vietnam.ResultsWomen’s gold medal match: Denmark vs Hungary 2-0 (21-19, 15-14); Women’s bronze medal match: Brazil beat Vietnam 26-14, 23-18; Men’s gold medal match: Brazil beat Spain 14-17, 19-18, 11-10; Men’s bronze medal match: Sweden beat Qatar 10-16, 21-16, 9-6.

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