The penultimate men’s match of the opening day saw a thriller between Germany and Iran. Current European bronze medalist Germany came out a little jittery and allowed the Iranians to take an early 10 point lead by the end of the first quarter.
After half time the momentum of the game started to sway back into Germany’s favour and a seven point unanswered run brought it back to just a three point game. The Iranians then started to struggle to find the net and the Germans took advantage and three consecutive threes from Andre Bienek meant Germany took the lead for the first time in the game.
With Germany leading by just two points going into the final quarter it was a thrilling 10 minutes of wheelchair basketball, but Iran went on a run of 11 points to nil to take the score to 61 – 55 putting the game out of Germany’s reach. Iran were victorious 69 – 63.
Iran Head Coach, Abbas Aghakoucheki, said, “It was a very good game, after eight years since Beijing Paralympic Games where we were under sanctioned which meant we could not participate in the Paralympic Games in London 2012. For 8 years we have been far from the international competition so it’s very good for us for first to be here with other Paralympic teams and then secondly to have started very well against Germany. Germany are a very good team, in the U23 World Championships 2013 in Adana, the Germans were number one in the world. We have started very well, my players listened to me and played well and I hope to continue this way.”
Germany Head Coach, Nicolai Zeltinger said, “It was definitely disappointing, we were hoping to get a better start to the tournament, Iran played a tough game and I think we started really nervously. We had our run at the beginning of the second half and I thought that was the turning point in the game and we were working kind of well but then Iran came back and we gave away too many turnovers which didn’t help at the end. It’s disappointing and it doesn’t make life easy but we’ll take the challenge and we are looking forward to the next game.”
For full match statistics please visit https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-group-b-preliminary-wb-5