Bratislava, May 9, AZERTAC
Tournament debutants Turkey opened their campaign at the Islamic Solidarity Games handball competition with a well-rounded 27-24 victory over Morocco in Baku on Tuesday.
Morocco, who reached the quarter-finals in 2005, were unable to worry the Turks, inspired by high-flying captain Ramazan Done, who finished with eight goals.
The game was tightly contested with keepers Alae Laaroussi and Taner Gunay shining at both ends to keep the scoreline low at 12-8 in favour of Turkey at half-time.
It took just under a minute to break the deadlock but another five minutes to see another goal as Morocco's Laaroussi and Turkey's Gunay were unbeatable.
With frustration increasing in the African camp, players struggled to keep their cool and four players received a two minute warning, allowing the Turkish side to ease ahead in the second half.
With a seven goal lead just six minutes into the final 30 minutes, Ilker Senturk's men were able to control the tempo until the buzzer.
And despite the Lions of the Atlas' best efforts they could only reduce the gap to a five goal deficit with ten minutes to go (23-18).
Not enough for a come-from-behind victory against a team who's best previous result was a bronze medal at the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
Centre back Onur Ersin (6 goals) and left back Baran Nalbantoglu (4 goals) got on the scoresheet, while Morocco's Mohammed Rachid Hamed found the back of the net seven times.
Turkey will lock horns with Iraq on Wednesday, hoping to make it back-to-back victories, while Morocco face Jordan.
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