ABC/UMinho take win and Benfica very close to the final
Last year, S. L. Benfica missed the final of the Challenge Cup, but this season, the Portuguese top team is very close to after defeating FyllingenBerge 35:22 in the first leg of the semi-final.
The other Portuguese team in the competition, ABC/UMinho, who actually reached the final last year, are considerably further from reaching it again after only winning 34:33 at home against HC Dukla Praha
S. L. Benfica (POR) vs FyllingenBergen (NOR) 35:22 (16:9)
Last season, Benfica and Fyllingen played to close matches in a double header in Lisbon in Round 3 of the Challenge Cup, as Benfica won 33:32 and 28:25.
This time, however, there was nothing equal about the two teams’ meeting in the Pavilhao EDP Benfica Lisboa.
The team from Norway’s second largest city never stood a chance in the Portuguese capital, where Benfica soon got up 7:3 and later 12:4 and 14:5.
After leading by seven goals at half-time, the home team took their first 10 goal lead already at 19:9 early in the second half, and after this, the distance was never narrower than eight goals, before Benfica finally won by 13.
“I am disappointed by the way we acted, compared to what we had agreed on.
“We had a weak performance, and that is why we were run over,” said Fyllingen coach Viadar Gjesdal.
Spanish right back Javier Fernandez scored 10 goals for Benfica, while Fyllingen had their most scoring player in Swedish centre back Julius Lindskog Andersson with five goals.
ABC/UMinho (POR) vs HC Dukla Praha (CZE) 34:33 (18:18)
Last year, Braga based ABC reached the final, where they lost to Romanian Odorhei.
However, after their narrow home win against Dukla Praha, the current number two in Portugal may have trouble copying that achievement.
Dukla coach Jan Josef claimed ABC to be cleat favourites before the match, but this was hard to see in the Pavilhao Flavio La Seite in Braga, where neither team was ever able to make a decisive distance.
After an equal start, Dukla went three goals ahead at 7:4, but it did not take the hosts long to catch up, and the rest of the first half was equal.
So was the first part of the second, and another three-goal lead for the visitors, at 26:23, was also soon equalised by the home team who managed to land a narrow one-goal win at the end.
Left back Hugo Rocha scored nine goals for ABC, one more than left wing Milan Kotrc scored for Dukla.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc