Olympics handball: Norway beat Montenegro to women's gold

Defending champions Norway retained their women's handball Olympic crown with a thrilling 26-23 win against plucky debutants Montenegro.

Montenegro ran the favourites close before succumbing in the final stages of Saturday's gold-medal decider.

Norway's Linn Jorum Sulland scored 10 goals including a vital brace in the last 90 seconds.


"It was a real up and down performance by Norway, they were beaten twice in the group stages. But they are tears of joy for their players at the end. It was a remarkable achievement for Montenegro to take their first medal of the Olympics. A commendable silver - they battled until the end."

Spain needed extra time to beat two-time Olympic champions South Korea 31-29 in their bronze-medal decider.

Norway, also the reigning world and European champions, made a sluggish start at the Basketball Arena as they missed twelve of their first 14 shots.

But Montenegro failed to capitalise, only managing to open up a two-goal lead, and paid the price when Norway started to find the target.

The Norwegians settled down to lead 13-10 at half-time, but any hopes they had of cantering to victory were swiftly dashed by their gutsy opponents.

Montenegro battled back to 20-20 with nine minutes remaining before Norway's quality and experience saw them through.

Meanwhile, Spain and South Korea became the first sides to need extra-time at London 2012 after they were locked 24-24 at the end of normal play.

Jessica Alonso hit the net for 31-29, ten seconds before the end of the second extra-time, to seal Spain's first Olympic medal in the sport.

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