Italy win W19 EHF Championship crown at home
Would playing at home in the final of a Women's 19 EHF Championship benefit Italy or prove to be too much of a burden? Italy left it late against Lithuania – but they ultimately claimed the crown on Sunday courtesy of a 27:25 victory.
Earlier on in the day, Serbia beat Spain (23:22) in a match that was only decided after Spain's last shot of the match, a direct free-throw, went wide.
- Guilia Fabbo and Ramona Manojlovic both scored eight goals for Italy, who trailed 22:21 as late as the 52nd minute
- Lithuania's top scorer, Silvija Mackonyte, also scored eight goals
- Italy's only defeat of the championship was against Serbia in the preliminary round
Italy certainly made a tentative start in the final that was played on their home court in Chieti. After several of Italy's shots were saved in the first six minutes, Lithuania built the first three-goal lead of the match, 4:1.
Lithuania extended their advantage to four goals (8:4) in the 15th minute. But as Giulia Fabbo and Ramona Manojlovic found the back of the net more frequently in the final 15 minutes of the half, Italy were back within one goal at the break – as Lithuania led 11:10.
As the lead changed hands on several occasions, a close contest continued throughout the second half. With just 10 under minutes remaining, Martyna Ustilaite's equaliser for Lithuania left the match tantalisingly poised at 21:21. Guilia Fabbo's eight goals in the match for Italy came from 15 shots, but her final two goals of the match ensured her team had a three-goal cushion with less than two minutes left on the clock.
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
- Tamara Kocic (six goals) and Una Obrenovic (five goals) again led Serbia in attack
- Serbia's only defeat from five matches in Italy was against Lithuania in the semi-final
- Spain's Iona Lucio Garcia received the best player of the match award
Serbia and Spain finished top of their respective groups in the preliminary round, but the prospect of this match being the final ended when both teams lost in the semi-finals.
Serbia relied on young stars Tamara Kocic and Una Obrenovic throughout the championship – and they did so again against Spain. Kocic was the first to find her stride for Serbia, scoring five goals in the first half, but Obrenovic scored four of her goals in the last 20 minutes.
Spain goalkeeper Lucia Alonso had an outstanding game, making 10 saves at a 50 per cent efficiency rate, but her side's shooting percentage of 47 per cent left was the reason why Serbia emerged victorious in a low-scoring match.
Placement match 5/6
Bulgaria vs Turkey 28:36 (13:19)
Goalkeeper: Skirmante Gekaite (Lithuania)
Left wing: Dominyka Andronik (Lithuania)
Left back: Lana Mijailovic (Serbia)
Centre back: Nerea Canas Cadenas (Spain)
Line player: Bevelyn Eghianruwa (Italy)
Right back: Giulia Fabbo (Italy)
Right wing: Mante Voskresenskaja (Lithuania)
Best defender: Marija Ilic (Serbia)
MVP: Ramona Manojlovic (Italy)
Top scorer: Mari Tomova (Bulgaria – 57 goals)