DOHA: Qatari club Eljaish and Germany’s HSV Hamburg both won their respective matches to qualify for the semi-finals of the IHF Super Globe at Al Gharafa Sports Stadium, yesterday.
Earlier yesterday, HSV Hamburg won a thrilling match against hosts Al Sadd 30-29, which left the Qatari side hoping Sydney University would beat Eljaish to qualify for the semi-finals.
However, Eljaish proved to be too strong for the Australian club, winning 38-14.
In other matches, Barcelona Intersport topped Group B, after beating an inspired Etoile Sportive du Sahel side 34-27.
Qatar’s Al Rayyan lost their third straight match in a closely-fought encounter losing 26-27 to Brazil’s Taubate.
Knowing victory would seal a spot in the semi-finals, wild-card entrants Eljaish got off to a strong start.
Mosbah top-scored for the Qatari side with six goals, and was supported by team-mates Ahmed Elahmar (5), Amine Khedher, Moustafa Hussein and Mahmoud Osman (4).
Sydney University, who were bidding to become the first Oceanian side to register a victory in the competition had no answer to Eljaish’s threats.
Jonathan Lennstrom was the leading scorer for Sydney University with three goals.
Elsewhere, Hamburg were boosted by the goals of newcomer Zarko Markovic and 2007 World Champions Pascal Hens in the first 30 minutes, while Al Sadd counted on the hammer goals of Mustafa Alkrad.
Al Sadd were leading before Hamburg changed their goalkeeper from Johannes Bitter to Marcus Cleverly. Cleverly saved two penalty shots to help take the lead at 12-11 and later increased the margin to three goals at the break.
Hamburg soon accelerated and increased their efficiency in attack.
Inspired by Croatia’s Domagoj Duvnjak, they marched ahead to 23-17.
However, Qatari international Selvedin Omahic started scoring five times in only seven minutes and he brought his team close to 23-25.
Hamburg coach Martin Schwalb took time-out and changed his goalkeeper again.
The time-out proved to be a wise choice as the Germans played much better and seemed to have decided the match leading 29-24.
But suddenly the Germans stopped playing and allowed brave fighting Al Sadd to reduce the deficit to only one goal.
Hamburg were shaken, but held on the victory.
Schwalb was delighted to top the group and advance to the semi-finals.
He said: “We played well for 55 minutes, but then we missed to seal the deal earlier. We are happy that we have reached our goal to finish on top of the group.”
He added: “I am really looking forward to the semi-final against Sahel, but it will be a tough match. I saw some improvements and developments in my team so I am not afraid of the Tunisians.”
Al Sadd coach Arrouche Lakhdar said he was pleased with his side’s performance.
He said: “Everybody saw the big difference between both teams regarding the physical conditions and the preparation. But we played a good role against Hamburg and we are glad that we had this opportunity to take an experience to face a club like HSV.” AGENCIES