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Thriller in Budapest as Hungary take first win

C4 9374 EHF / Courtney Gahan

Both Hungary and Portugal enjoyed stronger form than in their opening encounters at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 when they met for their round 2 clash on Sunday night in Budapest, but there could only be one winner. After a tight 60 minutes enjoyed by the sold-out arena, it was Hungary who secured their first points with a 31:30 victory.

Portugal started much stronger but Hungary fought back and from the 11th minute on, the score was always close. Dominik Mathe ultimately decided the game with five seconds on the clock.     

Mathe earned the Grundfos Player of the Match award after scoring eight goals and making three assists.

Portugal vs Hungary 30:31 (15:14)

  • 60 minutes: but it came down to the final five seconds, when back Dominik Mathe scored the goal that decided the game in Hungary’s favour
  • Hungary caused their fans some nerves in the opening, as Portugal scored three unanswered goals while the EURO co-hosts’ recorded turnovers and had several shots saved by Gustavo Capdeville (nine saves total)
  • after it took them almost the entire game to improve their form in their opener versus the Netherlands, Hungary recovered from their shaky start on Sunday night and took the lead for the first time at the 15-minute mark, 7:6
  • reflecting the improved performance all round for both teams after their disappointments in round 1, the first 12 minutes of the game saw goals from all positions with no individual player adding a second strike until after that point
  • once Hungary came into the game, it was a close encounter until the dying seconds. The distance between the sides hovered around one or two goals, or the score stood level with only one exception — when Gabor Ancsin netted for 27:24 with 10 minutes to go, before Portugal fought back and levelled the match again

Who will be left behind?

Despite another slow start, Hungary were more the threat they are expected to be at this EURO once they warmed into the game. The problem for the EURO co-hosts was that they faced a Portugal side who also looked more themselves than in their tournament opener, and so it was a tough battle for the two points between two teams that showed they deserve a main round ticket.

But who will be left out in group B? Both Hungary and Portugal enjoyed solid form on Sunday night, while Iceland and the Netherlands took the points in round 1 with stellar games. Before Iceland meet the Netherlands for their round 2 clash, it is impossible to identify ‘favourites’ to be knocked out in the preliminary round.

The second and last round 2 match for the group could enlighten us — but it could also prove the group is so well balanced that deserving teams will be left behind.   

In the last timeout, Mate Lekai told the whole team what they should play and it was a very good choice from him. Dominik Mathe was successful in this situation.

Istvan Gulyas
Coach, Hungary
Sometimes I ask myself what would happen if we made a normal preparation. Because we came here, we lost by one. We lost by four against Iceland, without playing, because everyone is in quarantine. We train in groups of three players to keep them in shape. Sometimes I ask myself what would happen if we had a normal preparation. But this is the past — it was really a great game and congratulations to Hungary.

Paulo Pereira
Coach, Portugal

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