HANDBALL: Egypt edge rivals Tunisia in thriller to win AFCON, qualify for Olympics

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HANDBALL: Egypt edge rivals Tunisia in thriller to win AFCON, qualify for Olympics

ΓενικάThe Egyptian national handball team defeated their long-time rivals Tunisia 21-19 to win the Africa Cup of Nations and qualify for the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

In what was a highly-competitive and thrilling game of handball both teams started with defensive stability in mind and the first five minutes were all tactical with Egypt leading 6-5.

The match took a turn after that with both teams trying to attack without hesitance. Tunisia took advantage of the constant Egyptian mistakes to lead for the first time in the game with their centre-back Abdelhak Ben Salah performing impressively. The half ended with Tunisia leading 10-9.

The second half was arguably the best half of handball we’ve seen in the whole tournament. Both teams were electrifying with Egypt in particular keen to take back the lead.

Egypt looked to their star man Ahmed El-Ahmar to save them and he responded with brilliant goals in the last 15 minutes to regain the lead for Egypt.

However, he wasn’t as impressive as Egypt’s substitute keeper Felfel, who turned out to be the Pharaohs’ saviour by producing numerous brilliant saves from one on one situations and ensured they kept a two-goal lead with four minutes to go.

The tension was unbearable for the 30,000 Egyptian supporters in the stadium as they watched their side cling on for the final two minutes with a two-goal lead and Tunisia in possession.

Tunisia’s captain Isam Tej missed his shot as the stadium erupted knowing very well there was no time for Tunisia to score as the game ended 21-19.

The win ensures the Egyptians qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer as well as the Handball World Cup, which they had qualified to after defeating Angola in the semi-finals. Tunisia however will also qualify for the World Cup but will not make the final cut for the Olympics.