Angola Secure First Victory as Alberto Builds Brick Wall

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After three losses and a draw, African champions Angola finally got their first win at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship, defeating Austria by five goals in Trondheim.

The result means Austria cannot now qualify for the quarter-finals, just like their opponents whose fate was already sealed before this clash after starting the main round with zero points.

Main Round, Group II
Austria vs Angola 25:30 (14:16)

Herbert Müller’s Austria saw their last eight spot slip away with this loss – but with maths and two heavyweights in Norway and France standing in their way it was never more than a dream.

More realistic for the wildcard side is third place in the group and a possible spot in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, but to do that they need Norway to beat Slovenia in the later game on Friday and then beat their country neighbours in their final day clash on Sunday.

Three players who appeared in the 2009 IHF Women’s World Championship clash between these two teams were on court today with Natalia Santos and Azenaide Carlos appearing for Angola and Petra Blazek for Austria.

That clash 14 years ago was won by the Austrians and the match today looked like it was going their way again just over 90 seconds in when Dolores Rosario was disqualified for a hand to the face in a defensive move early on following a video consultation from the Bosnian referee brothers.

But despite this, the impetus was always with Angola in the first 30 minutes, despite the best efforts of their opponents who kept in touch. 

However, Angola finally created breathing room following an expert piece of skill from Albertina Kassoma – who sunk home an arc of a shot with two seconds remaining direct from a restart – and they went into the break two ahead (16:14).

The second half was more of the same with the teams tightly matched and the score in favour of the Angolans in general, but save after save from Angola’s Marta Samuel Alberto seeded doubt in the Austrian minds and with a 24:24 score going into the final 10 minutes things quickly changed in favour of the African champions, who raced ahead.

A Natalia Santos seven metre with just four minutes remaining, put her side 27:24 in front and despite a late time out from Austria, which saw them move to 7v6, it was not enough as Angola did not rest.

The 17th save from Alberto, after a Katarina Pandza shot, saw the Angolan shot-stopper smile as wide as the Trondheim Fjord, before gesticulating with a ‘love heart’ hand signal above her head towards the bench.

Müller, on the Austrian bench, could only show his exasperation moments later when Alberto made her 18th stop, flinging his arms in front of him, highlighting, maybe, the frustration of such an inspirational performance between the sticks.

And despite the best attentions from his side with their player-to-player coverage, just one goal in the final 11 minutes was evidence of Müller’s side running out of steam.

Upon the final buzzer, Carlos threw the ball in the air and the relief was palpable. For Angola at least.

Source : IHF