Korea 26-28 Montenegro as handball team take third loss at Games
The Korean women's handball team were handed their third loss at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by Montenegro at Yoyogi National Stadium, western Tokyo, on Saturday morning.
Things did not start swimmingly for Korea, with Montenegro grabbing a lead and control of the game early on. It could have been much worse had goalkeeper Jeong Jin-hui not stepped up to make the difference.
Jeong pulled off five consecutive saves in the midpoint of the first half, bringing Montenegro's momentum to a halt. Her individual effort was responsible for the deficit staying manageable.
Korea briefly stole the lead when Lee Mi-gyeong drew a 2-minute suspension from Andrea Klikovac and netted the foul penalty to inch ahead 8-7. It was soon lost, however, and the first half ended 13-11 in favor of Montenegro.
Things did not improve in the second half, with Montenegro displaying greater concentration in most decisive moments and widening their lead. Ace right back Ryu Eun-hee — usually relied upon to turn the tide of games for Korea with her signature cannonballs from the nine-meter mark — had an uncharacteristically quiet game.
Korea rallied in the final minutes, with Jo Ha-rang netting four late goals with great finesse and Lee scoring her tenth point of the match, but by then the game had already been decided. Montenegro won 28-26.
With this loss, Korea's chances of advancing to the quarterfinals have severely worsened and the team will have to wait and see how the group plays out on the final day.
Korea will play their final game of the group stage against Angola on Aug. 2 at 9 a.m.
BY JEON YOUNG-JAE [email@example.com]