Gold for Greece at goalball Euros B
Date: June 6, 2021
With promotion to the top tier of European goalball secured, Greece and Montenegro played for honours in the men’s gold medal match at the 2021 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships B in Lahti, Finland, on Sunday (6 June).
Greece dominated in the first half with Athanasios Chatzipantou’s unrelenting goal-scoring abilities on full display to grab four goals to Montenegro’s one.
Montenegro could not find any rhythm after the break and gave away a penalty which Chatzipantou duly hurled into the corner. Grigorios Tatsis got in on the party, adding two more goals to bring the score to 7-2.
Montenegro’s Nikola Nikolic did sneak the ball past Greece once more but again Chatzipantou had the perfect answer, fittingly claiming the last goal of the Championships to end the game 8-3.
The Greek goal machine, who has once again been his country’s most valuable player, finishes on top of the standings with 48 goals in total.
Russia showed incredible grit in the men’s bronze medal match after Saturday’s agonising semi-final defeat to eventual gold medallists Greece.
Their opponents Poland looked to be in control of the game in the first half, ending it 6-3. Marcin Czerwinski and Marcin Lisowski shared the strikes for Poland.
Into the second half Russia were the first to score – Aleksandr Kolmogorov with a clever diagonal effort to fool the Polish defence.
Lisowski replied to restore the three goal advantage for Poland and added another to extend it by one more.
But a lot can happen in the deceptively short 12-minute halves of goalball and Russia were not done. With just over seven minutes remaining they claimed one back, and another, to bring the score to 6-8. Poland were gifted some breathing space when Russia scored an own goal but they quickly hit back, scoring three times to bring themselves level with Poland.
As the Polish defence crumbled, Russia doubled-up with 2:26 left on the clock. Poland looked shocked and could not find a way through again. The match ended 11-9 to Russia with three goals each from Artur Bodnia and Ivan Antonenko as well as one for Ivan Antonenko to seal bronze and promotion to Pool A.
Portugal ended their campaign in fifth place with a 6-4 win over Great Britain. Israel overcame Italy 10-3 to finish seventh and the Italians will be relegated to Pool C.
Men’s top five goalscorers
48 – Athanasios Chatzipantou, Greece
39 – Dan Roper, Great Britain
35 – Nikola Nikolic, Montenegro
30 – Michael Ruzin, Israel
25 – Marcin Czerwinski, Poland
Allez les Bleus
In the women’s bronze medal match France executed a clinical 10-0 takedown of Spain to claim third. The game was all but over at the first whistle, with the French only needing one more goal to take the mercy win.
Audrey Belkhir obliged two minutes in to the second half, scoring her seventh – and 21st goal overall – to secure her team’s promotion to the A Pool. Gwendoline Matos also got on the scoreboard for France, finding the net three times. Belkhir ends Lahti 2021 as the tournament’s second top scorer.
Hosts Finland were due to take on Denmark in the women’s final, but the match was cancelled after one member of the Danish returned a positive result from their daily COVID-19 test.
Hungary took Poland to extra time in the fifth-place play-off, providing yet more excitement on the final day. The match ended 6-5 with Hungary taking the golden goal courtesy of Lidia Hadobas just before the end of the first period.
Women’s top five goalscorers
39 – Anja Christensen, Denmark
21 – Audrey Belkhir, France
11 – Katarzyna Suchanek, Poland
10 – Hava Beritan Fener, Denmark
10 – Krista Leppänen, Finland
10 – Gwendoline Matos, France
Lahti 2021 was the first major international IBSA Goalball competition since the beginning of 2020.