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Date: 4/6/2012

Both matches at the opening day of the Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Alicante were full of tension. Poland (against Algeria) and Spain (against Serbia) won the dramatic encounters.


Poland vs. Algeria 28:27 (11:13)

Poland had a tough piece of work to take their first two points. The African runners-up were close until the middle of the second half. Thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Samir Kerbouche the Algerians surprised the 2007 World Championship Silver medalists. After Poland was in lead 6:3, the Northern Africans turned the game with a series of 8:3 goals to 11:8 in minutes 25. In this period Poland could not stop the Algerian express and shot very weak.


The Algerian lead lasted until the 16:15 in minute 38, before Poland improved, whilst their opponent lacked power and concentration. With five consecutive goals and in total a series of 9:2 Poland pre-decided the match at 24:18 in minute 50. In this period the Jurecki brothers Bartosz and Michal were the keys to success with in total twelve goals. When everything was decided in minute 57 and the score of 28:22, Algeria scored four final straight goals, but could not endanger the Polish success in Alicante. Messaoud Berkous was the top Algerian scorer with eight goals, the two Jureckis scored each six times.


Statements after the match:

Bogdan Wenta, coach Poland: “It was a great match and the players of the Polish team were very effective in attack.”


Bartosz Jurecki, player Poland: “The Algerian players were very well prepared, but our defense was very professional.”


Salah Bouchekriou, coach Algeria: “Poland played on a high level and we knew that it would be a difficult match.”


Messaoud Berkous, player of Algeria: “The match was well conducted by us in the first half.”



Spain vs. Serbia 30:27 (11:10)

The battle of two European top teams was the clear highlighter in Alicante on Friday 6 April 2012. For 57 minutes the match of the 2011 World Champions Bronze medalists against the 2012 European Championship Silver medalists was absolute tight, before three straight Spanish goals, scored by Aguinagalde, Ugalde and Tomas, made the host jump of joy.  The Serbian were an opponent on eye level – and like at the EHF EURO on home ground their defense was the key to success in the first 30 minutes poor of goals, imprinted by four goals of Serbian left wing Ivan Nikcevic, but a close lead of the Iberians.


After the break the speed arose and with it the number of goals. The lead changed constantly in the second half, with no team able to increase the gap to more than one goal until minute 57. As on the Spanish side nearly all players scored, Momir Ilic (in total nine goals) and Marko Vujin (in total six goals) took the responsibility on the Serbian side. Thanks to three straight goals from 27:26 to 30:26 the host decided the game – their best scorer was right wing Victor Tomas with five goals.


Statements after the match:

Valero Rivera, coach Spain: “It was a very important match with many goals. I am so pleased that handball fans could enjoy this match.”


Veselin Vukovic, coach Serbia: “I would like to congratulate the Spanish team for this victory. They were very professional on the court and our players were a little bit too nervous.”


Victor Tomas, player Spain: “The match was very intense, especially in the second half. But we are very satisfied with this victory.”


Ivan Nikcevic, player Serbia: “We were playing very well, but we lost the match in our defense.”


On Saturday 7 April Serbia will face Algeria (at 17:30 local time), before Spain and Poland will compete at 20:15 local time.