SEMI-FINAL REVIEW – The Final in the Men’s Challenge Cup will be an entirely Portuguese affair, after a set wins for Benfica and ABC UMinho.
Men’s Challenge Cup Final to be a Portuguese derby
S. L. Benfica and ABC/UMinho created an all Portuguese affair for the Challenge Cup Final this weekend, as both teams also won the second leg of their semi-finals.
Benfica followed their 13-goal home win against FyllingenBergen with a 29:27 victory in Norway, while ABC, who only had a one goal lead with them to Prague, won 33:29 away against HC Dukla Praha.
After their visit to Lisbon resulting in a 13-goal deficit, Fyllingen were on a ‘mission impossible’ during the return match and even though the team from Norway´s second largest city, Bergen, dominated the first half of their home game against Benfica, the Portuguese side emphasized their skills in the last 30 minutes and came out on top in second leg, too.
Fyllingen were leading 3:0 and 10:6 in the first half, which the home team lead by three goals.
However, it did not take Benfica long to catch up after the break and from then on, the visitors did not look back, but would celebrate their ticket for the final with another win.
“I think we made an honest attempt today. We might have had a few of the small details against us, but we met a team who was better than us,” said Fyllingen coach Vidar Gjesdal.
Once again, Swedish centre back, Julius Lindskog Andersson, became the highest scoring player for Fyllingen.
This time he scored seven goals, while the Angolan right wing, Augusto Aranda, and the Spanish right back, Javier Fernandez, scored four times each for Benfica.
After Benfica did their part of the job, ABC made the Portuguese Final a fact with their four-goal win in the Czech capital.
ABC only had a one goal lead with them from the first leg in Braga, but their final berth was only in real danger early in the game in Prague, as Dukla were leading 7:4.
ABC soon took back the initiative though and with six goals in succession, they changed an 8:7 deficit into a 13:8 lead.
Dukla´s 5-1 defence was not enough to disturb ABC´s attacking play and the home team never got any closer than being three goals down. At the final buzzer, ABC could celebrate having reached the Challenge Cup Final for the second time in a row.
TEXT: Peter Bruun/tm
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