Knockouts loom for women - London 2012 - Handball
Day 9 at the London 2012 Games saw the women's Handball preliminary stages reach a climax, with the battle for supremacy in Group A providing the highlight.
Needing to win to go back level on points with Brazil, but with a superior goal difference, the reigning silver medallists could not be separated from their fellow eastern European opponents.
It was a tight start between two closely-matched teams, with the score tied at 6-6 after the opening 12 minutes, before Russia flexed their muscles to open a 13-9 lead.
But Montenegro hit back and threw in six of the next nine to bring that deficit back to just one goal, with the first half ending with the score at 16-15 to the reigning silver medallists.
The even nature of the game continued into the second half and after 17 minutes of it, the score had only advanced to 19-19 as both sides matched each other blow for blow.
It was 25-25 with one minute remaining and Russia missed the chance to get a decisive lead when Sonja Barjaktarovic pulled off a good save, but with just 15 seconds remaining Montenegro failed to create another chance and it ended all-square.
Earlier, Brazil had made the initial running to book top spot in the group with a nervy 29-26 success over Angola.
The points never looked in doubt and after a strong start, Brazil found themselves 8-5 to the good after 12 minutes, which became 11-6 seven minutes later.
After Angola scored four of the first five goals following the restart, the South American onslaught continued and they reeled off seven unanswered goals to lead by nine.
But Brazil did not account for a comeback by Angola and a golden spell saw them score nine of 12 goals to bring their deficit back to just one with three minutes to play.
However, the Pan-American champions saw it out thanks to five goals from Nascimento, Fabiana Diaz and Silvia Pinheiro as they brought a successful preliminary stage to an end.
Reigning gold medallists Norway will face a tough test against Brazil in the quarter-finals after a disappointing 25-20 defeat to Spain, while in the final game of the evening France warmed up for a quarter-final with Montenegro by cruising past Denmark 30-24 in the final preliminary match.