Lucky Greeks remain on top, hunted by the TurksArticle
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ROUND REVIEW: Top sides from group A remain on course for the next stage of World Championship 2023 qualification

One clear matter, one thriller - this was the outcome of Wednesday’s matches in the first qualification stage on the road to the Men’s IHF World Championship 2023 in Poland and Sweden. In group A, Kosovo were close to causing Greece’s first defeat after two opening victories, but finally lost 20:21 at their home ground in the first ever duel between the sides

Like in the qualification for the 2021 IHF World Championships, Turkey beat Belgium, and now have four points on their account. Turkey never were behind in the whole match, but decided the encounter only in the second half. The reverse fixtures of both pairings will be staged next weekend.

Turkey vs Belgium 30:25 (17:14)

  • Turkey remain with a clear record at home after beating Kosovo 25:23 in round 1, while Belgium still wait for their first victory, still on one point.
  • Turkey profited from their 10:5 flying start, before Belgium managed to reduce the gap to only one goal at 12:11.
  • Six minutes after the break, the hosts pulled six goals ahead at 21:15 - and even a red card against Can Celebi did not have any effect on the home side.
  • At 27:20, the deal was sealed, and Turkey could save power for the re-match at Hasselt on Saturday.
  • Best scorers of the match were Kobe Serras with nine goals for Belgium and Görkem Bicer with six strikes for the hosts.

Kosovo vs Greece 20:21 (9:13)

  • Greece have the maximum six points now and can already proceed to the next stage on Sunday, hosting Kosovo (still on one point) in Heraklion.
  • Kosovo were never ahead in the whole match, but levelled the result three times after the break (14:14, 15:15 and 17:17).
  • Greece were dominant in the first half, their biggest lead was five goals at 13:8.
  • Boosted by top scorer Valon Dedaj, who scored five of his seven goals after the break, and the 15 total saves by outstanding goalkeeper Haris Berisha, Kosovo reduced the gap goal by goal.
  • Greece were shaken heavily, but did not fall - but it took until minute 59 and the 21:19, scored by Ioannis Kalomoiros, to seal the third victory in this qualification.
  • Kalomoiros and Charalampos Mallios were Greece’s top scorers with six goals each.

Matches of round 4:
Belgium vs Turkey
Saturday 8 November, 20:15 CET
Greece vs Kosovo
Sunday 9 January, 14:00 CET

TEXT: Björn Pazen