Great Britain snatch late point, hosts Azerbaijan win

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European Handball Federation

Qualifiers phase 1 for the Men’s EHF EURO 2026 in Denmark, Norway and Sweden started Friday with the opening day of a four-team tournament in Baku. Great Britain surprised Cyprus with a late comeback from four goals down for a 25:25 draw before hosts Azerbaijan eased past Malta, 34:25.

Cyprus vs Great Britain 25:25 (12:13)

  • not much was separating Cyprus and Great Britain in the first half, as the teams swapped the lead several times but with the margin never getting bigger than two goals
  • the match remained in the balance for the first six minutes after the break before Cyprus, led by left wing Christos Argyrou, had a 6:0 run to go 22:17 up
  • Cyprus looked like securing the win when Giorgos Papakyprianou netted for 25:21 in the 53rd minute – however, they did not score again for the remainder of the match
  • it gave Great Britain the opportunity for a late comeback: Sébastien Edgar scored three straight goals (25:24) before right wing Francisco Pereira levelled the score with still two minutes left on the clock, but both teams missed chances to grab a victory
  • Edgar was the top scorer with 10 goals; Argyrou and Vasilis Demosthenous both had six for Cyprus

Azerbaijan vs Malta 34:25 (18:6)

  • it took four minutes and 25 seconds until the first goal of the match – by Azerbaijan’s Nihat Azizov – but the hosts then ran away from their opponents to build a decisive 11:2 lead with four goals from Ramazan Muradov
  • the margin already reached a double-digit figure before the break when Teymur Akhundov netted for 16:6 in the 28th minute
  • with the match all but decided, Azerbaijan lost some of their dominance in the second half
  • the margin was 14 goals (23:9) before Malta gained some grip on the game in the last 22 minutes, starting with a 6:1 run, but they were obviously not able to threaten the hosts’ win
  • Muradov finished on nine goals; Peter Naudi and Neil Gruppetta both scored five for Malta

Men’s EHF EURO 2026 Qualifiers Phase 1 in Baku, Azerbaijan on 13-15 January 2023

> Cyprus vs Great Britain 25:25 (12:13)
> Azerbaijan vs Malta 34:25 (18:6)

> 11:45 CET – Malta vs Cyprus
> 14:00 CET – Great Britain vs Azerbaijan

> 9:45 CET – Great Britain vs Malta
> 12:00 CET – Cyprus vs Azerbaijan

More info and group standings on the tournament page; all matches streamed live on EHFTV.

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