It was a crucial match for both Montenegro and Belarus who had been level on two points after two games.
Even a draw was enough for Belarus, but they celebrated a clear 36:27 victory and will now travel from Graz to Vienna for the main round matches.
- Belarus finished second in group A with four points, but they will take no points to the next stage
- with two points, Montenegro are certain to finish third-placed
- Belarus’ Mikita Vailupau scored seven goals and became top scorer of the match as well as Grundfos Player of the Match
- Vladan Lipovina netted five times for Montenegro
- Montenegro’s goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic recorded 15 saves, but it was not enough for his team
Montenegro vs Belarus 27:36 (11:16)
Belarus have more experience and individual skills than Montenegro, and it helped them to win a decisive battle.
Solid defence was also a factor of their victory, while Artsem Karalek, Siarhei Shylovich and Mikita Vailupau made the difference in attack.
Vailupau’s impact was particularly impressive – the 24-year-old from HC Meshkov Brest, who is playing his debut major tournament with Belarus, has already turned into a key figure for the national team.
Against Montenegro, he scored seven goals and could have added a few more but missed two penalty shots.
Montenegro’s goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic, the hero of the historic match against Serbia, again stood like a wall and finished the game with 15 saves, but this time it was not enough. Simic’s reflexes helped the Balkan side to a 6:4 lead, yet then Belarus turned the tide.
They took their first lead only in the 15th minute, then Iouri Chevtsov’s team pulled clear to enjoy a comfortable six-goal advantage at half-time (17:11).
Belarus continued to dominate throughout the second half, so the outcome was obvious long before the final buzzer.
Belarus equalled their biggest win at EHF EUROs, 33:24 against Romania in 1994, and they were very close to setting a new record, yet it was denied by Filip Vujovic’s penalty goal in the last second.
#Belarus ???????? now heading in the direction of the main round - as Siarhei Shylovich intercepts and shoots straight to the goal!#ehfeuro2020 #dreamwinremember pic.twitter.com/hT34RE4Cyy
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 13, 2020