Zagreb give Portland defence lessonsArticle
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The Croatians played in fantastic form and gave no chance to Portland.

Zagreb give Portland defence lessons

Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje showed Portland San Antonio what defence in the handball dictionary means. The Spanish team were absolutely helpless during the entire match. Zagreb played much better and deservedly won by 29:23 (15:12).

The Croatians celebrate in front of a full house in ZagrebAlthough his team had to play against the best Croatian player and the World Player of the Year as well, Ivano Balic, Lino Cervar did it once again. Zagreb defeated Portland in a match where the Spaniards did not have a lead for a single moment. They only managed to equalise at the beginning. In the rest of the match the Croatians were much superior, leading all the way.

Excellent 3-2-1 defence

Zagreb started with an excellent 3-2-1 defence which allowed them to take a 3-goal advantage at 6:3. But then the Spaniards answered and decreased the Croatians advantage to 11:10. The young Josip Valcic caused a lot of problems for Portland’s defence. At the end of the first half Zagreb changed to a 6-0 defence, which was also very good. The goals of Bicanic, Vukic and Lazarov allowed the Croatians to establish the 3-goal margin again and to go to break with 15:12.

Lazarov scores, Sola saves

In the second half Lazarov continued with a great performance. The Croatians even took the biggest lead of the match in the 48th minute – 23:17. The Spanish side tried everything, they even changed their defence to 4-2, but nothing seemed to work. When Zagreb's defence got tired a little bit, the Spaniards got closer. But then Sola made some crucial saves and the Croatians could start to celebrate their victory. The final result was 29:23.

The best scorer of the match was Lazarov with 7 goals (2 penalties) once again. Bicanic scored 6 and Vukic 5 goals. On the Spanish side Ruesga scored 6.

Fantastic match

Lino Cervar was proud and happy:

“I don't have anything to say, only to congratulate my players. They played a fantastic match.“

Portland’s Ivano Balic was sad after the defeat, but he highly appreciates his teammates from the Croatian national team:

“Of course I’m not satisfied with this defeat, but Zagreb were well prepared for the match and they deservedly won. They did not surprise me. I said earlier that there were no favourites in our group.”

TEXT: Ivan Ambros