The maths in Group II have just got complicated after Hungary delivered the first blow of the tournament to Slovenia, 29:28.
Ljubomir Vranjes’ side, who were riding a four-game winning streak, looked to have things under control in the first half, but a slow start in the second part, with just two Slovenian goals scored in the first 12 minutes, helped Hungary mount a comeback.
- both Slovenia and Hungary are now at four points in the standings, tied with Norway
- line player Bence Banhidi was Hungary’s top scorer, with nine goals from 10 shots, and was named Grundfos player of the match
- Slovenia relied in attack on Jure Dolenec, who scored eight goals, but conceded their largest number of goals in the tournament
- Slovenia meet Portugal on Tuesday, while Hungary face hosts Sweden
Slovenia vs Hungary 28:29 (16:13)
With five Slovenian players plying their trade in Hungary’s two club powerhouses, MOL-Pick Szeged and Telekom Veszprém, there cannot have been many secrets between the two sides.
Sure enough, it was Hungary’s game at the beginning, as the gritty Slovenian defence failed to stop the passes to their line players.
But the status quo was always going to change when Slovenia really got into their groove. Right back Jure Dolenec scored three times to reach 50 EHF EURO goals, while a goalless period lasting nearly seven minutes for Hungary saw Ljubomir Vranjes’ side take a 10:7 lead.
Firing from all cylinders with their back line – 14 goals scored by backs in the first half – Slovenia seemed to be unstoppable, taking a 16:13 lead at the break, apparently cruising to their fifth win in a row at the EHF EURO 2020.
Yet a slow restart from the Slovenian team, with only one goal scored in 10 minutes, eased Hungary back into the game.
Thanks to a monster game from Bence Banhidi, who scored nine goals in total including five of Hungary’s first six in the second half, Hungary took the lead with 17 minutes to go.
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Slovenia looked clueless in attack and far from sharp and ruthless in defence and that boosted Hungary’s chances.
When they finally adjusted for Benhidi, left back Patrick Ligetvari took over. The 23-year-old back scored four goals in a row – including three shots clocking over 115 km/h – to help Hungary take a 27:24 lead with six minutes to go.
Slovenia became desperate, and Hungary easily took advantage. Despite their lack of experience, they clinically ended the game with a 29:28 win that improved their odds of qualifying for the final weekend in Stockholm.
Hungarian right back Zsolt Balogh said the comeback was a "miracle".
"The first half was not as good as we expected, but we made some adjustments and really took off in the second half. It was very good, we were just calmer and some of the young players who went on the court did a perfect job," he said.