Brazil's hopes for its first-ever handball medal took one step forward today with a 28-24 win over Angola.
Brazil might have felt the pressure coming into their match against Angola, well aware that a win would clinch a quarterfinal spot. Missed penalties and clumsy handling off the ball cost them dearly in the opening 10 minutes of play. Natalia Maria Bernardo put Angola out in front for the first time in the eighth minute off the fast break, silencing the home crowd. Another turnover by Ana Paula Belo gave Angola the all-clear to open the lead up to two goals.
Continued pressure by Angola on the nine meter arch slowed down the up-tempo Brazilians early, though Deonise Fachinello wrestled her way through that line on a handful of occassions.
Bernardo continued her fine play well into the first half, maneuvering her way through the two center back positions and breaking on through goal. Another fast break goal by Bernardo - her fifth of the match - put Angola up by three.
Though Belo struggled to get her rhythmn going, great heads-up play by Barbara Arenhart on the goal line gave Jessica Quintana the opportunity to level the score on the fast break.
Very little separated these two teams at the half. Apart from the 13-13 scoreline, both were perfect on fast break opportunties and breakthroughs, while also struggling on the wing.