ROUND REVIEW: Odorhei ensured there would be no all-Portuguese Men's Challenge Cup Final with a win in Lisbon
Odorhei prevent Portuguese party
Prior to the second leg of the Men's Challenge Cup semi-finals, there was the very real possibility of an all-Portuguese final, with both clubs from the country holding strong positions in their respective ties.
But Romanian side Odorhei gatecrashed the final with an impressive success against S.L. Benfica in Lisbon on Sunday.
The visitors carried a slender two-goal advantage from their 31:29 victory in the home leg and were therefore under pressure from the outset.
At half-time the tie was level with the hosts establishing a 15:13 lead on the night.
But Odorhei responded with a sensational second-half performance to triumph 27:25 in the second leg and register a four-goal aggregate victory to reach their first European final.
Portugal will still be represented in the final, however, after Liberty Seguros ABC/UMinho advanced at the expense of Norway's Stord Handball.
Like their countrymen, Liberty also lost their second leg 27:25, but never appeared in real danger of missing out on the final, having won 25:18 in the first leg.
Stord failed to threaten the seven-goal deficit at home on Sunday, as the lead changed hands frequently in a tight affair.
"It is sad to miss a final, however, the match today probably expressed our season in a nutshell," Stord coach Jespe Holm told Haugesunds Avis newspaper.
"We make some stupid mistakes at fatal times and miss too many opportunities."
TEXT: Peter Bruun / jh
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