ROUND REVIEW: Clear double-header wins for Portuguese and Norwegian teams in the Challenge Cup
Benfica and Bergen cruise into quarter-finals
Three teams are set for the quarter-finals of the Men’s Challenge Cup after the double-headers this weekend.
S.L. Benfica were well on their way to the next stage when they won the first of their matches against A. C. Filippos Verias on Friday. The Portuguese team won 34:14 at home, and therefore could afford to lose the second match 26:23 and still cruise into the quarter-final.
Further north in Portugal, last year’s losing finalists, ABC/UMinho from Braga, followed their countrymen from the capital to the quarter-final.
After winning 40:29 in the first leg Saturday, they finished the job on Sunday with an even bigger win – 45:24.
Further north still, in Norway’s second-largest city Bergen, FyllingenBergen also booked their passage to the quarter-final after two convincing wins against Serbian HC Radnicki Kragujevac.
On Friday, Fyllingen won the first match in Framohallen 35:28, and on Saturday, in the same arena, the hosts won even bigger with a final score of 33:19.
“It may have become a bit easier than we expected, but we are really happy to proceed in the tournament.
“At the same time, we got the chance to use our entire squad, which gave all our players valuable experience, while we could rest our key players more than we had planned,” Fyllingen coach Erlend Aam told their website.
HC Dukla Praha are not through yet, but the Czech team took a major step towards the quarter-final when they won the first leg of their double-header against Belgian HC Vise BM 38:27 at home.
Things are considerably closer between St. Petersburg HC and B.B. Ankara Spor, after the Russian team won 30:26 at home on Saturday. The narrower score line gives their Turkish adversaries reason to hope ahead of the return match.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg
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