Ukraine take double gold at goalball Euros B
Date: September 29, 2018
The Ukrainian men and women impressed in their respective finals at the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships B in Chorzow, Poland, on Saturday (29 September), claiming both golds.
With promotion to the A pool already secured for the finallists, the title was the main focus of attention.
Vasyl Oliinyk got Ukraine on the board in the men’s, taking the lead against Greece in the second minute.
They then extended their advantage by one more goal before scoring two more. Athanasios Chatzipantou pulled one back for Greece to reduce Ukraine’s lead. The first half ended 5-2 to Ukraine.
After the break the Ukrainians really hit their stride. Goal after goal hit the back of the Greek net without reply. Ukraine then ended the match with their 12th goal from Rodion Zhyhalin, extending their lead to 10 goals with 47 seconds left to spare.
Hosts Poland faced Spain in tense bronze medal tie which saw the lead swap several times. However Poland had the edge with a slender one goal lead when the first whistle blew, 3-2.
The hosts added a further two goals into the second half but Spain got the chance they had been looking for just under three minutes in. A shot was poorly dealt with by the Polish defence and rolled over the line to bring the deficit down to just two goals.
It proved to be the boost the Spanish needed. They went on to equalise and take the lead with four minutes left on the clock. A further blow came for the Polish thanks to a penalty with 60 seconds to go, expanding the visitor’s lead to three goals.
Spain found the net a further two times in the dying seconds to claim bronze, and promotion to the A pool, with a 10-5 triumph.
Israel took on Portugal in the fifth place game on Saturday, winning 7-8.
A fast and furious first half in the gold medal game between Finland and Ukraine ended 0-0 despite the pace of play.
Finland’s Krista Leppanen opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the second half with a strong shot at the centre of the goal, bouncing over the Ukrainian defence.
Ukraine’s reply was swift, with Olena Rud immediately equalling the score when play resumed. They then took the lead just over a minute later to lay their hands on the gold.
Maria Waglund opened the scoring in the first minute of Sweden’s bronze medal match against Belgium. The shot took the Belgian defence by surprise and just edged over the line.
Waglund went on to double the score for Sweden with four minutes left in the first half.
Sweden bagged another three goals before the final whistle. Belgium scored a consolation goal from a penalty but it was not enough to throw the Swedes off course.
Sweden took the bronze with a 5-1 victory.
The Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 to claim fifth place.
The 2018 IBSA Goalball European Championships B saw 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.