INTERVIEW: Sporting's proficient winger Pedro Portela speaks about what is needed for his side to upset the odds against Pick Szeged
Magicians to surprise again
One of the best surprises of the EHF Cup, Sporting Clube de Portugal, faces Pick Szeged on Sunday, in a clash that Pedro Portela and his team mates cannot wait for.
The young winger spoke to eurohandball.com ahead of this match and looked positive going into it: “We know they won’t have an easy task, actually, it will be the complete opposite.”
Sporting has been surprising their opponents from the early stage of this competition with their attractive, fast and objective style of play, something that Pedro does not expect to change against the Hungarians: “We have our own style of play, and we won’t do anything different on Sunday. We will counter-attack fast and stick to our principles.”
Their opponents have already played in Lisbon this season against the Lion’s rivals Benfica, and Portela admits they know them well.
“They are a heavy, strong team and they have a lot of experience. They have the quality to be in the Champions League, yet we know that we can beat them if we are focused on Sunday.
“I think the key to go through this round will be to be focused on defense and make as few errors as possible. They may be a heavy team but they also have quick wingers who can cause troubles on the counter-attack,” admitted Portela.
Analysing the group phase, the difference between the two sides is not that obvious, in fact, the Portuguese are the “winners” when it comes to goal difference, scoring 21 more times than Pick Szeged and conceding only six more than the Hungarians.
One of the main reasons to this healthy goal difference comes from Portela, as he is averaging eight goals per match in the EHF Cup. The player claims that this is due to Sporting’s style of play, but the truth surpasses his humility because one has to have a lot of quality to score this many times at this level.
“That average only exists because I adapt well to our style of play and also because of our solid teamwork. I think we are all important here, we can’t be expecting for one player to win the match. I know and we all know that if I could not play, another colleague would do a great job replacing me,” said the 24-year-old.
eurohandball.com tried to find out what coach Frederico Santos will say to the squad before the match against Pick Szeged, counting on Pedro Portela to give us a good insight, which he actually did: “I think he might tell us to be focused, to believe in ourselves because we can make it, as we proved we could against Montpellier despite the defeat.
“I’m very happy to be playing the quarter-finals and our team has been excellent this season to get here. I have the impression that things are changing though, as since the start of this season to where we are now, this sport is gaining importance in our country and that is due to the Portuguese teams’ participation in European Cup competitions,” said the right wing.
As if this morale was not enough, it’s also important to note that Sporting won the Portuguese Cup last Sunday for the third time in a row, so expect them to put up a good performance in Mafra.
TEXT: Carlos J. Santos / cor
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