Opening win for 2020 semi-finalists Slovenia
The first match of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in Főnix Aréna, and what a match to watch as 2020 semi-finalists Slovenia recorded a narrow win over North Macedonia, 27:25.
Although Slovenia were the favourites, North Macedonia fought hard, carried by hundreds of fans from the stands. The young Macedonians performed very well, however, coach Ljubomir Vranjes showed Slovenia has more chances for rotation and won an important two points at the start of the EHF EURO.
Slovenia vs North Macedonia 27:25 (13:10)
- it was a great start for North Macedonia, with a three-goal run. Slovenia responded with five consecutive goals, took the lead and held it to the end
- goalkeepers stole the show, with Slovenia’s Joze Baznik and Macedonian Martin Tomovski on fire in Főnix Aréna
- a change in tactics was crucial for the Slovenian win. Coach Vranjes changed most of his players and it proved a sound decision as Slovenia secured their first EHF EURO win over North Macedonia
- Slovenian goalkeeper Baznik was elected Player of the Match
- Slovenia will play against Denmark in round 2, while the Macedonians will seek their first win, against Montenegro
Dream EHF EURO debuts
There were six EHF EURO debutants on the stage in Debrecen and two really stood out. Joze Banik was a true nightmare for the Macedonians tonight, stopping every important goal. In crucial moments he pumped the whole Slovenian delegation and was elected as the Player of the Match.
On the other side, 22-year-old left wing Cvetan Kuzmanovski not only scored his first goal — he was also his team’s top scorer with a tally of eight. With that, Kuzmanovski levelled his coach Kiril Lazarov, who held the record for most EHF EURO goals against Slovenia.
"It was my first match with the team and I feel good. In the first half we were very disciplined. In the second half we lost our concentration, but in the end of the game we stayed focused and we could win thanks to our great teamwork," said the Slovenian goalkeeper Joze Baznik.
His counterpart Martin Tomovski commented: "Stepping on court in the opening game of a championship is always difficult for both of the teams. We hoped to play with less technical and tactical mistakes; it was our fault to make Slovenia the winner of the game. We can learn our lessons from this defeat."