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Semi-finals set at 2019 goalball Euros

Date: October 12, 2019

Category: Goalball

By Sam Harris | For IBSA

Shocks and surprises highlighted the quarter-final matches at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation Goalball European Championships A in Rostock, Germany, on Friday (11 October).
Great Britain will play Israel in the women’s semi-finals following a 6-2 win over world champions Russia.
Kali Holder was again the match winner, scoring all her side’s goals following her hat-trick in their previous group stage win over the Russians.
Irina Sevastova and Natalya Makoveeva netted for Russia.
In a commanding first half performance, coach Aaron Ford’s side saw Holder grab her latest hat-trick aided by strong saves from Georgie Bullen.
But Sevastova showed her finishing abilities with a powerful shot after the break.
However, Great Britain’s defence kept her otherwise quiet on a disappointing morning for the defending European champions.
Holder then added another three including slotting a penalty into the far right-hand corner past Sevastova.
Russia grabbed a late consolation through Makoveeva but Great Britain had done enough for a memorable win.
Israel won their quarter-final with ease, dispatching Ukraine 8-1.
Over at OSPA-Arena, Germany narrowly beat Greece 4-3 to become the last team in the semi-finals.
Turkey will face the hosts in the last four after their 10-0 demolition of Finland.
Sevda Altunoluk grabbed seven goals with Gulsah Duzgun and Kader Celik also netting.
The Paralympic champions remain unbeaten after a fifth straight win.
In a tight opening period defences were placed on top with Sevda Altunoluk and Finland’s Lida Kaupila both forced into some important saves. 
However, Altunoluk took her opportunities when Finland’s Krista Leppanen was penalised twice for high balls and then completed her hat-trick giving Turkey a comfortable half-time lead.
Turkey’s lead was extended before Altunoluk struck four more times with some powerful finishing to make it eight unanswered goals. 
Kader Celik saved a penalty before getting her name on the scoreboard and Sevtap Altunoluk doubled her score.
Despite her team’s defeat Finland captain Susanna Halme saw the positives: “We made a few too many mistakes but there were some good elements of the game with our defence and teamwork in the first-half.”
In the first placement games the Netherlands eased past Denmark to finish 9th over at the OSPA-Arena.
In a disappointing day for Finland, their men’s side also lost to their Turkish counterparts, 7-5 at OSPA-Arena.
The first men’s team in the semi-final were Ukraine as they smashed Spain 10-0 at StadtHalle.
Rodion Zhyhalin netted six goals with a Vasyl Oliinyk brace, and Yevheniy Tsyhanenko and Anton Strelchyk strikes completing the rout.
Spain put an early penalty wide following a high ball infringement and their profligacy was punished soon after when Zhyhalin opened the scoring with a strong effort down the centre.
He then netted his second firing down the middle via a deflection before completing his hat-trick moments later with a carbon copy effort.
The lead was extended further thanks to Oliinyk’s superb diagonal shots finding the right-hand corner and Zhyhalin grabbed another.
The Ukrainian number five was in ruthless form as he then powered home his fifth and sixth goals before the interval.
Tsyhanenko slammed home a penalty and the defeat was complete for Spain as it was declared game over when Strelchyk scored.
Ukraine’s Fedir Sydorenko recognised the importance of the result: “Today was an important game for us because we have tried for many years to stay in group A and now we finally have done and we will try and win this competition this year.”
Lithuania stayed on course to retain their European title after thumping Worlds bronze medallists Belgium 10-3 at the OSPA-Arena.
Germany men ensured host representation in both competition semi-finals with a 7-5 win over Greece.
Michael Feistle claimed a four goal haul and Oliver Horauf scored a hat-trick.
Adriano Mpezhani and Anthanasios Chatzipandou scored twice each and Charalampos Kordakis netted for Greece.
The home side remain unbeaten after four matches while Greece had lost 11-2 against Ukraine in their last outing.
Horauf had given them an early lead with a stunning diagonal shot into the right hand corner but they were soon pegged back through Mpezhani.
Germany then saw efforts from Horauf and Rogge deflected onto the crossbar as they had the best of the opening period.
Having soaked up the pressure though, Greece took a shock lead into the break following Chatzipandou’s powerful spinning finish and a strong shot down the centre by Mpezhani.
The hosts struck first in the second half with Feistle’s unerring finish past Kordakis and levelled when Horauf grabbed his second.
Minutes later the turnaround was complete due to Horauf’s unstoppable drive but it was short-lived as Chatzipandou slammed home to restore parity.
Greece hit the front with three minutes left with a superb angled shot from Kordakis into the far right corner but the hosts again hit back through Feistle’s drive.
Almost immediately, Germany led as Feistle got his third when his effort was not kept out by Kordakis as the home side led 6-5.
Horauf then tipped an effort onto the post before Germany’s number one confirmed the win with seconds left.  d
Sweden men finished their European Championships campaign in ninth place after beating Czech Republic 11-8.
They came back from two goals down to secure victory thanks to four goals in the second half from Fatmir Seremeti in his last match for his country.
Despite trailing early on when Michal Novotny finished with a spinning diagonal and Lukas Valer's shot found its way past by Olof Ryberg, the Swedes hit back through a Mikael Akerberg brace and Ryberg.
The teams exchanged scores before each finding the back of the net from penalties as Sweden led 5-4 at half time.
Seremiti took over after the break with his strikes either side of Czech brace from Valer and Vaclav Svoboda. `
Josef Sarkany pulled another back for the Czechs who saw two efforts deflected onto the crossbar but a Ludvig Nilsson penalty sealed the win.
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams from 15 countries are going for titles in Rostock, with the added bonus of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games slots for those teams not already qualified.

The competition is being shown live on the IBSA YouTube channel and IBSA Goalball Facebook.
The semi-finals take place on 12 October. The medal games conclude competition on Sunday 13 October.

Games are taking place in two venues: The Rostock Stadthalle and OSPA Arena with Stadthalle staging the finals.

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