Baku, May 11, AZERTAC
Favourites Turkey and hosts Azerbaijan have both won their first two games and will lock horns on Thursday in a group decider before the semi-finals of the Islamic Solidarity Games women's handball tournament in Baku.
Turkey downed Cameroon 33-31 in the dying seconds of their game on Wednesday, while the no-nonsense Azeris cruised past Uzbekistan 47-21.
With just four teams in the tournament, Cameroon, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will meet again in the next round with the best-placed team facing the lowest on Sunday.
The hosts were never in any danger as they took an early lead thanks to a strong team effort with Anastasiya Metelska (9 goals) and Marina Tankaskaya (7) particularly effective.
In the other game of the day, Cameroon once again came agonizingly close, but could not pull back against Turkey after surrendering in the dying minutes to the hosts despite clawing their back from a 16-19 deficit at the break to level at 30-30 with two minutes remaining.
A missed penalty and a brilliant save by keeper Sevilay Imamoglu sealed the deal for Turkey.
A well-rounded performance from youngsters Scholastique Larissa Mfomo Bikah and Marie Yolande Nadine Touba Byolo, with 18 goals between them, helped Cameroon say in contention.
But it was left back Yeliz Ozel, 37, who stole the show, scoring 10 goals and steering Turkey clear of defeat.
"We lost on technical details. Just like the last game, it was a rollercoaster for us as we couldn't stay focused. The girls lost concentration too quickly at times", admitted Cameroon assistant coach Serge Claude Magala.
"They are still young and need to work on some details, especially technically. Now we need to win in the final game to avoid the best team", he added.
The Lionnesses go head-to-head with Uzbekistan on Thursday while the first place will be decided between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
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