Brazil book spot in women’s QF’s

BRA book spot in W QF

Brazil’s hopes for its first-ever handball medal took one step forward today with a 28-24 win over Angola.

Brazil might have felt the pressure coming into their match against Angola, well aware that a win would clinch a quarterfinal spot. Missed penalties and clumsy handling off the ball cost them dearly in the opening 10 minutes of play. Natalia Maria Bernardo put Angola out in front for the first time in the eighth minute off the fast break, silencing the home crowd. Another turnover by Ana Paula Belo gave Angola the all-clear to open the lead up to two goals.

Continued pressure by Angola on the nine meter arch slowed down the up-tempo Brazilians early, though Deonise Fachinello wrestled her way through that line on a handful of occassions.

Bernardo continued her fine play well into the first half, maneuvering her way through the two center back positions and breaking on through goal. Another fast break goal by Bernardo – her fifth of the match – put Angola up by three.

Though Belo struggled to get her rhythmn going, great heads-up play by Barbara Arenhart on the goal line gave Jessica Quintana the opportunity to level the score on the fast break.

Very little separated these two teams at the half. Apart from the 13-13 scoreline, both were perfect on fast break opportunties and breakthroughs, while also struggling on the wing.

The second half was equally intense as the first. Both teams continued to do most of their work in the middle of the court.
Brazil’s tempo came alive in the midst of an Angola two minute penalty. Belo’s work in the middle, Arenhart’s fine work on the line and Jessica Quintino’s efforts on the wing provided the Brazilians with a three goal lead in that span.
Arenhart saved 36% of shots faced during the game.
Angola began to unravel after that, surrenduring another two minute suspension to Brazil. The threat of Bernardo’s work was neutralized by Brazil, tightening up on marking her. Meanwhile, opportunities were beginning to open up on the flanks for Brazil, with Franca Fernanda da Silva poaching from the left flank and picking her shots on goal.
Bernardo got back into form late, forcing her way into the six meter marker. But Angola just seemed to lose confidence, and Brazil continued to up the momentum and the pressure. Belo’s confidence surged with it, scoring five goals in the second half.

Brazil currently remain at the top of Group A with the win and seal their position to advance.

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