A brief overview of the European Cup weekend in Portugal.
EHF Men's Challenge Cup - Sporting Clube de Portugal closer to the semi-final
With victory achieved in their first leg match in Romania, there are good prospects for Sporting Clube de Portugal to progress through to the semi-finals of the EHF Men's Challenge Cup. In Lisbon and before their supporters, they will want to guarantee their presence in the semi-final stage.
“We played an excellent match in Romania, winning by a nine-goal difference against a fast team, with very good ball reception and that uses the fast breaks in a very talented way”, states Sporting CP and POR national team’s goalkeeper, Hugo Figueira.
“We were very well informed about C.S.U. Suceava and that helped a lot, especially when we were playing the first leg away in a completely packed and noisy arena”.
The goalkeeper feels confident for the second leg taking place this Saturday (24 March) in Lisbon and is counting on the home fans for a big support. “Whenever we play at home, we enjoy playing with a full hall. It was like this two years ago when we won the EHF Men's Challenge Cup. We hope for next Saturday, that the hall can be full again to help us reach the semi-finals once again”.
Tough job for Benfica in the EHF Men's Cup Winner's Cup
The other Portuguese team in action this weekend is Benfica, but after a defeat in Celje, Slovenia, their mission is not easy. They want to move forward to the semi-finals and their captain, Carlos Carneiro, scorer of six goals in the first leg, is not, by any chance, quitting.
“The first leg could have been better, the conviction that we have the ability and the capacity to win the eliminatory is very alive in our heads. Anything can happen and we are going to give our best to be one of the four final teams in the EHF Men's Cup Winner’s Cup, keeping always in mind that we are facing a very strong team.”
Carneiro is full of admiration for Celje. “They are a very strong team, with good players in all positions, physically powerful and with a fantastic goalkeeper that makes the team very solid. They play fast handball. A team in which we are not able to distinguish the strong points from the weak points”.
Last season, Benfica were the runner’s up in the EHF Men's Challenge Cup, losing the final match also against Slovenian side RK Cimos Koper.
TEXT: Claudia Teixeira / Federação de Andebol de Portugal
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