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Handballers through to European playoffs

Top scorer Kostadinovich tries to muscle past the Romanian defence

(Keystone)

Switzerland's national handball team have secured a place in June's qualifying playoffs for the European Championships after completing a 27-24 win in their latest pre-qualifying match in Romania.

As expected, Switzerland faced a tough challenge throughout the game. The lead changed hands several times in the early stages and neither team was able to build up more than a three-goal lead at any point.

However Switzerland pulled ahead late on, thanks to another strong performance from Robbie Kostadinovich. The team captain was Switzerland's highest scorer with eight goals.

Schaffhausen's Michael Suter was also highly influential. The left winger scored five of his seven goals in the first half to wrest control of the match from the home side.

At the other end of the court, Suter's Schaffhausen team-mate Christian Meisterhans put on a spectacular performance between the goalposts. The Swiss goalkeeper parried 13 difficult shots and saved two of four Romanian penalties.

The narrow win in Oradea helped Arno Ehret's side leap over their first qualifying hurdle with a game to spare. On Sunday the Swiss team are due to play hosts to the Romanians, but the former world champions are now unable to catch up with Switzerland.

Lithuania are likely to be joining Switzerland in the playoffs. Currently second in the group, the Lithuanians still have two matches to play against the group minnows of the Faroe Islands.

In June's playoffs Switzerland will have to take on one of the countries involved in this month's world championships.

swissinfo with agencies

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