Greece, Ukraine, Finland, to go for men’s and women’s titles at goalball European B Champs
Date: September 28, 2018
Greece and Finland will take on the Ukrainian men’s and women’s teams for the respective titles at the 2018 International Blind Sports (IBSA) Goalball European Championships B in Chorzow, Poland, on Saturday (29 September).
After a tense day of semi-finals on Friday the four teams emerged as contenders for gold. As well as the title on offer the medallists will gain promotion to the A pool for 2019.
Hosts Poland suffered a narrow 8-10 defeat to Greece in the men’s semi-finals.
Athanasios Chatzipantou got Greece on the board at the start of a tense first half.
Charalampos Kordakis added another before Marcin Lubcyzk started Poland’s return.
Kordakis then made it three for Greece four minutes in but Poland were not letting go.
Marcin Lisowski doubled his team’s score in the last few minutes and Lubcyzk found the net again just a few seconds later to equalise.
Greece’s reply was swift when Athanasios Chatzipantou powered the ball home to give his side a narrow one goal lead at the break.
Eleven goals came in the second half, six of which came from Greece as Chatzipantou peppered the Polish net.
Poland’s Marek Mosicki tried to keep up with his opponents, claiming two goals. Lubcyzk was also a star player in the second half, adding three more to his tally, but it was not enough and Poland had to bow out of their home competition.
Yevheniy Tsyhanenko impressed for Ukraine in their semi-final against Spain, hitting his stride in the second 12 minutes.
The first half proved to be a tense affair with Tsyhanenko getting his team on the board early at three minutes in.
Spain’s Felix Vargas then equalised. Just as it seemed the first half would end with the scores even, Vasyl Ollinyk struck for Ukraine with just over 60 seconds left on the clock.
Into the second half and Spain, buoyed by their team talk, sent Javier Serrato forward to equalise.
Tsyhanenko, determined to secure a place in the gold medal match, then came back with a vengeance. He unleased some incredible firepower to score three goals in just one minute.
Spain, stunned, were then faced with a three goal deficit.
Tsyhanenko bought his match record to six goals before the final whistle and the match ended 7-2 to Ukraine.
Spain and Poland will now face each other for bronze.
Finland continued their unbeaten run in Chorzow, taking on Sweden in the first women’s semi-final.
Katja Heikkinen made a strong start for the Fins, opening the scoring three minutes into the first half.
Heikkinen followed with one more goal before teammate Krista Leppanen stepped in to claim two of her own. The first half closed with Finland 4-0 up.
Leppanen and Heikkinen added one more each in the second half, both securing a hat-trick that sent their side into the final with a 6-0 win.
Finland will face Ukraine for gold after they eased patch Belgium 11-1.
The Ukrainians scored six goals in the first half with Olena Rud, Liliia Pasko and Kateryna Martynovych claiming two each. Naomi Blommer was the scorer of Belgium’s lone goal.
Martynovych added two more in the second to close the game as her team’s top scorer with four goals.
Belgium will get to play Sweden for the final podium place on Saturday.
The 2018 IBSA Goalball European Championships B will see the medallists from both the men’s and women’s competitions promoted to the A pool for 2019.
They will then get the chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at various competitions, including the European Championships A in Rostock, Germany, in October.