Australia open championship with crucial win

Australia's Caleb Gahan celebrates a goal

In their opening match of the 2023 IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, the Australian handball team defeated Moldova 25:22, keeping Australia’s hopes of making it through to the semi-finals of the championship alive. In a physical match, Australia played a strong defensive game coupled with an effective transition game to take the win.

The match started strongly for the Aussies, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening minutes. Australia then managed to maintain their composure, building a five goal lead by the 38th minute mark, but a lapse in concentration allowed Moldova back in the game. With 15 minutes left in play, Moldova drew level at 16 all after a five-goal spree. However, Australia rallied once again and hit back with three unanswered goals of their own, with ten minutes left on the clock, pushing through a nervy last couple of minutes to secure the three goal victory.

Australian goalkeeper Bjørn McCourt, who had the game of his life in his senior national debut, was deservedly named player of the match with an impressive 20 saves from 41 shots. His outstanding performance was crucial in Australia’s victory. Hamish Langenberg and Karl Warrener top-scored for Australia with 7 and 6 goals respectively showing their prowess in transition and in set play, but it was an all-round team performance that was vital to Australia’s success and will undoubtedly boost the team’s confidence heading into their next match.

Australian goalkeeper Bjørn McCourt was named player of the match for his outstanding performance in goal. Photo credit: IHF

Australia will now face Cyprus tomorrow at 14:30 local time for a chance to move into the semi-finals. Australia will need to maintain their winning momentum and put in another strong, controlled performance to secure a place in the semi-finals.