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Date: 4/14/2019

Youth (U19) Competition: Sunday 14 April

Chinese Taipei claimed the 2018-19 IHF Men’s Youth (U19) Trophy Intercontinental Phase title with a come-from-behind victory against Nigeria in the last few minutes, while host nation Kosovo confirmed their first medal of the day, beating Canada by six in the bronze medal match.

3/4 Placement/Bronze Medal Match: Kosovo vs Canada 32:26 (16:9)

All square after 10 minutes (4:4), Kosovo pulled clear soon after in this battle of the disappointed, sharing the scoring around to get 10:6 up (18th minute), despite a Canadian time-out in the middle to try and break the run. 

The North Americans did bite at the Kosovo lead a little, going on a 3:0 scoring run themselves, causing a Kosovan time-out, but the home side then pushed further ahead, going seven goals up at the break.

The second half was 'won' by Canada 17:16 but it was to prove a little short in the end.

Ylli Muqolli top-scored for Kosovo with eight goals, while Zachary Ouallouche grabbed nine for Canada.

Gold Medal match: Chinese Taipei vs Nigeria 27:26 (14:11)

Chinese Taipei ensured at least one of their sides won a gold medal on the final day of Kosovo 2019, and at half-time it was looking like everything was under control against a Nigerian team they had beaten comprehensively 36:18 on the opening day.

That 18-goal victory came against a tired Nigerian side who had just arrived in the country, and at 5:2 up (11th minute) in today’s match, it looked like being more of the same.

Nigeria did come back a little in the first period thanks to two two-minute suspensions for their opponents (7:6 down in the 18th minute) but once they were back to full strength, Taipei again opened their lead to go into the break at 14:11.

The second half was frantic. By the 40th minute Nigeria led 17:16 as captain Ibrahim Dikko cajoled his team into a 4:0 run, his goal equalising the score and then his neat ball into Ebinatei Ekpodio which put the Nigerians in front for the first time, 17:16, and prompted a Taipei time-out with just under 10 minutes gone in the second period.

From this point on the teams were inseparable, with two moments from Nigeria highlighting their adaptability in attack – first, from a free-throw, Faruk Yusuf smashed directly home, spinning around after the whistle blew (18:17) and then Dikko shot at goal, saw his shot saved, but Abdulrahman Abdulazeez was there to follow it up, punching it in.

With five minutes left, the teams were still deadlocked (25:25) but a two-minute suspension for Nigeria's Hakeem Damilare Salami provided an opportunity for the Asian side to get back into the game once again as Yen Ting Lin converted the seven-metre to make it 26:25. 

Nigeria did equalise again, but Lin put his side up with just over a minute remaining and it was down to Nigeria to have one last chance, but Yusuf mishandled and turned over the ball.

A time-out swiftly followed for Taipei to rest their nerves and they played out the clock for the last 40 seconds to take the title of which they hope will be the first of two today as their junior (U21) side face hosts Kosovo this evening at 7pm.

Photo: Shpend Ahmeti/Kosovo Handball Federation