Turkey and Azerbaijan win in women's tournament

9 May 2017
Azerbaijan's players celebrate after winning women's handball match between Azerbaijan and Cameroon
Turkey's Nurceren Akgun (L) and Olha Vashchuk celebrates with during the women's handball match between Turkey and Uzbekistan

Azerbaijan and Turkey were both victorious in Baku on Tuesday as they opened their campaigns in women's handball at the Islamic Solidarity Games.

Turkey easily saw off Uzbekistan 37-21 in the opener, while Cameroon came close to upsetting the host team before losing a thriller 27-26.

The winners will have a chance to add a second victory to their tally when they lock horns with the two defeated teams on Wednesday.

Uzbekistan drew first blood in the opening minute, but Turkey soon opened up a big 12-goal lead 17 minutes into the first half, although this was down to 16-8 at the break.

With seven goals each for Yasemin Sahin, Yasemin Sahin and Asli Iskit, Turkey eased into a well-earned victory over the central Asian side whose star player, Anastasiya Mustafaeva, managed to find the back of net nine times.

It was a lot more difficult for Cameroon, who were no match for hosts Azerbaijan in the first period and trailed 6-1 after just seven minutes.

In front of a partisan crowd, the Lionnesses and their rugged defense managed to claw back to just 10-8 inside the first period and were still in contention at the break thanks to four goals from left back Christelle Morgane Ndongo Adzomo.

The second half was a thrilling affair with Cameroon leading at one stage before Azerbaijan hit back to take a two-point lead at 23-21.

The suspense lasted until the very end as the sides entered the last five minutes tied on 26-26.

Eventually, it was a last minute save by lanky keeper Natalia Gaiovich and a missed penalty by the experienced Hermine Carine Ngo Kaldjop that made the difference between victory and defeat.

The Azeris can thank veteran left back Anna Hamidova who bagged ten goals while Cameroon relied on the pace of Marie Yolande Nadine Magaptche to fight back and narrowly miss a come-from-behind win.

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