Qatar handball team win maiden Pan Arab Games gold in Algeria

Qatar handball team win maiden Pan Arab Games gold in Algeria

QLNews
By QLNews

Qatar clinched their maiden handball gold at the 2023 Pan Arab Games in Oran, Algeria, beating Saudi Arabia 37-24 in the final on Friday. Algeria defeated Iraq 31-29 to take third place.

Qatar had finished as runners-up at home in 2011, losing to six-time champions Egypt in the final.

Qatar, who began the tournament in Algeria with a 27-28 loss against the hosts, found their rhythm and never looked back. They defeated Jordan 36-21 before edging Saudi Arabia 23-22 and Iraq 24-21. They then once again got the better of Iraq (24-23) in the semifinal.

Qatar played the final against Saudi Arabia in a much more assured manner than the group game.

Qatar started the game quickly, taking a 3-1 lead within the first five minutes, but the Saudi players pegged them back to 3-3. The neighbours took the lead (7-6) for the first time in the 12th minute, but Qatar wrested the initiative (9-7).

From there on, Qatari players corrected their defensive errors and performed as a much more cohesive unit. Zarko Markovic, Wajdi Sinen and Mustafa Heba started coordinating Qatar’s attacks better and it helped them take an advantage. Qatar ended the first half 18-14 ahead.

Qatar introduced Anis Zouaoui on the left wing for the first time in the second half and it gave their attacks more teeth. It helped them control the game.

Qatari players, who kept scoring steadily, intercepted rival attacks and scored from counterattacks. It helped Qatar take a 26-17 lead and it set the tone for the rest of the final.

Qatari players relaxed a little, but never once gave away the game’s control. Qatar’s coach gave chances to some of his younger players towards the end of the game, giving them ample big-match experience.

Saudi Arabia never recovered from their loss of momentum and Qatar emerged as deserved champions.

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