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Montenegro in handball final
07:44 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

Montenegro will contest the gold medal in the women's handball competition on their Olympic debut after beating Spain 27-26 in their semi-final at the Basketball Arena, courtesy of nine goals from Katarina Bulatovic.

The eastern Europeans, playing in their first Games, were tipped as medal contenders before the tournament started and they lived up to their billing, with a decisive six-minute period in the second half where they scored five goals in a row to set up a final with reigning gold medallists Norway on Saturday.

Bulatovic, who scored a last-throw winner against France in the quarter-finals, was at it again as she dominated the scoreboard, though the win was underpinned by the performance of the imperious Bojana Popovic, who threw in six and was at the heart of everything Montenegro did.

Spain will see this as an opportunity missed after performing well throughout the tournament, and they will now contest the bronze medal with South Korea in a prelude to Saturday's main event.

Jorge Duenas' side arrived here tonight after seeing off Croatia in the quarter-final, while Montenegro caused a real upset when they knocked France out in a last-gasp victory to book their last-four spot.

And neither side were able to gain the upper hand in the first half, with the scores locked at 6-6 after 14 minutes and then 13-13 by the half-time interval.

Nely Alberto Francisca was the star for Spain with five goals while Popovic outlined why she is rated as one of the best players in the world with four first-half efforts.

The tight nature of the game continued after the restart and the score moved to 19-19 within minutes before Montenegro asserted their authority, going on a decisive scoring spree.

Bulatovic scored twice as the eastern Europeans rattled off five unanswered goals to take 24-19 lead with eight minutes remaining to put one foot in the final.

Spain threw everything at the last five minutes to claw the deficit back to one goal, but it was too little, too late and Montenegro held on for a historic win, leaving the court in tears of joy.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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