Cyprus, Georgia qualify for EHF EURO 2024 relegation round
Cyprus and Georgia have secured their places in the relegation round ahead of the Men's EHF EURO 2024 qualifiers.
Both teams advanced to the final of the IHF/EHF Trophy 2021 in Tbilisi on Friday. The three top-ranked teams in this tournament will qualify for the EHF EURO 2024 relegation round, which is scheduled for January 2022.
On Friday, Cyprus edged Moldova 30:28 as only a last-minute penalty forced a decision. In the second semi-final, hosts Georgia claimed a commanding 32:19 win over Bulgaria.
The final is scheduled for Saturday at 17:00 CEST.
Cyprus vs Moldova 30:28 (14:11)
- Cyprus were in control of the game in the first half and enjoyed a three-goal lead after the opening 30 minutes
- but Moldova found their stride after the break, and the outcome of the match was still open when Cyprus led by just one goal (29:28) going into the last minute
- a penalty converted by Cyprus left wing Christos Argyrou with half a minute on the clock finally decided the match
- Argyrou scored eight times in total for Cyprus, but Moldova's Roman Zacaciurin was by far the best scorer of the match, with 13 goals
Georgia vs Bulgaria 32:19 (22:11)
- Georgia had a dream start into the match, going 7:2 up in just over six minutes' time
- the hosts had already all but secured their place in the final after the first half, leading by 11 goals at the break
- the rather low-scoring second half, with just 18 goals compared to 33 in the first half, was more balanced but Georgia's win was never in danger
- Georgia's Georgi Tskhovrebadze was the leading scorer with eight goals, while Nikolay Neychev netted five times for Bulgaria
Alongside Cyprus and Georgia, a third team will earn a place in the EHF EURO 2024 relegation round: the winner of the bronze medal match between Moldova and Bulgaria on Saturday at 14:30 CEST.
These three teams will join five other teams in the relegation round: Luxembourg, who were directly seeded, and Belgium, Turkey, Finland and Latvia, who were the four worst fourth-ranked teams in the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers.
The relegation round will be carried out in January 2022 with four play-off pairings. A date for the draw will be announced by the EHF in due time.
Also on Saturday, Azerbaijan and Andorra are set to meet in the 5/6 placement match.
This duel was initially scheduled as a double-header, but the first leg had to be called off Friday after one player from Andorra tested positive for Covid-19. The entire team team underwent PCR tests and quarantined.
Barring further positive results, the 5/6 placement match will now be carried out as a single game on Saturday at 12:00 CEST.