Youth (U19) Competition: Sunday 14 April


3/4 Placement/Bronze Medal Match: Kosovo vs Canada (12:00hrs)

The dual of the disappointed sees the host nation hoping to end their campaign with a medal, while Canada will also be hoping for something around their necks for their flight home to North America.

The Canadians defeated Kosovo in the group stages 35:31, but the Europeans had come back somewhat from a 16:9 half-time deficit.

At Kosovo 2019 both sides have scored nearly the same number of goals (Kosovo 98, Canada 97), while the Canadians have the second-best defence, having let in just 73, compared to Kosovo’s 84.

One of the keys for Canada is goalkeeper Blaise MW Holloway who has made 35 saves from 87 shots and can boast an overall 40% save rate, only Paraguay’s Gabriel Figueroa has made more saves (48).

He could be the difference today as they look to upset the home side for the second time in two days.

Gold Medal match: Chinese Taipei vs Nigeria (16:00hrs)

On the second day of games at Kosovo 2019 these two teams met with the Asian side completely dominating, up 10 at the break (18:8), before winning by 22 (36:18).

However, that result and performance from Nigeria particularly means little going into the final today as the African side had only arrived in Pristina on the day of the match and did not show their true selves – evident in their emphatic 32:25 semi-final win against the previously unbeaten Canadians.

“We will have a good rest, eat well and focus on the match,” said Nigeria coach Emeka Joseph Nnamani after that semi-final victory. “We played Taipei in our first match and they beat us, so we have to go away and concentrate more on how to beat them.”

Taipei upset the hosts yesterday, easily beating them by nine (35:26) and they are in a relaxed mood ahead of the medal match.

“We already played Nigeria so I think that they will make some changes on attack to our defence,” said Taipei coach Li Chun Yu ahead of the final. “Our experience of them before means I think that we will be OK. We will certainly do our best to win the championship.”

Hakeem Damilare Salami leads the scoring for Nigeria with 24 goals, second overall, while Taipei’s Lin Shao Yan Yang has recorded 18 strikes for his country, joint fourth overall.

Chinese Taipei have scored the most goals (109), conceded the fewest (65) and tried the most fast-breaks (47) in the youth competition.

Photo: Shpend Ahmeti/Kosovo Handball Federation

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