News ID: 319540
Published: 1235 GMT January 21, 2022

Iran into Asian handball quarters after second-half rally against Saudi Arabia

Iran into Asian handball quarters after second-half rally against Saudi Arabia

Iran (white) and Saudi Arabia are in action at the Asian Handball Championship in in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, on January 20, 2022.

Sports Desk

Iran’s quest for a place at next year’s World Handball Championship continued with a dramatic victory over Saudi Arabia at the Asian Handball Championship on Thursday.

Having routed Australia (32-10) and India (42-29) in their first two outings, head coach Manuel Montoya Fernandez’s men overcame a first-half 9-13 deficit to beat the host 24-20 in Dammam and win Group B.

“The players came into the game with stress and fear and were a bit hasty in the first period, but the second-half performance was exactly what we had planned for,” said the Spanish coach after the game, who was also full of praise for Iranian keeper Mohammad Siavashi.

“We won an important game but won’t have too much time to celebrate as Iran will have to remain focused on the main phase of the competition,” added the Spaniard.

The result sent Iran into Group II of the last-eight round, which also features Kuwait, Iraq, and Bahrain.

Fernandez’s team takes on Iraq, which finished second to Qatar in Group C, today before squaring off against four-time champion Kuwait on Monday.

The last game of the group will see Iran face Bahrain – runner-up on four occasions between 2010 and 2018 – on Wednesday.

The top two of the last-eight groups will be secured a place at the world event with the two third-placed teams battling it out for the one last slot at next January’s competition in Sweden and Poland.

World runner-up in 2015, Qatar, which has dominated the last four editions of the Asian championship, South Korea – the most decorated team in the history of the tournament – Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan.

Iran is seeking a second-ever spot at the world championship, after a third-place finish in Asia in 2014 saw the country qualify for the competition in Qatar the following year.


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