Iberians split Beach Champions Cup titles
Malaga become two-time champions
Both finals of the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup featured duels between teams from Spain and Portugal, and while the Portuguese team GRD Leca – Love Tiles claimed the women's title, CBMP Ciudad de Malaga took revenge for Spain in the men's event, beating V.Gaw in the decisive game to become a two-time winner of the competition.
For Malaga, it was already the third participation in the Champions Cup final after lifting the trophy in 2016 and losing to Ekaterinodar Krasnodar one year later. This year in Sicily, the Spanish side finished second in the group, notably suffering their only defeat against another Portuguese team Escola de Formacao de Espinho – Os Tigres.
Their way to the final was not always smooth, as after beating Poland's BHT Petra Plock in the quarter-final in two sets, Malaga needed a shootout to down the Hungarian team HIR-SAT BHC in the semi-final.
In turn, V.Gaw became the first Portuguese men's team to reach the Champions Cup final, yet they came up short in the crucial game. Malaga had an advantage throughout the match and won in two sets, 24:20 and 29:18, as Jaime Benito and Roman Rueda combined for 35 points to propel them to a victory.
The bronze was won by HIR-SAT BHC, who beat Os Tigres in straight sets, 23:16 and 19:16, with the second-best tournament scorer Adam Fekete providing a crucial impact with his 20 points.
Leca down Almeria in straight sets
GRD Leca – Love Tiles wrote history by becoming the first-ever Portuguese winner of the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup. In the final match of the women's competition, the team from the town of Leca de Palmeira needed two sets to defeat previous title holders, GEA A.M. Team Almeria from Spain (24:18, 24:18).
The all-Iberian final at Isola delle Femmine in Sicily, played in front of 300 spectators, was a rematch of their group encounter, won by Almeria in a shootout. That was Leca's only defeat in the competition, yet it did not stop them from finishing top of the group before the Portuguese side went on to beat Escola de Formacao de Espinho – Os Tigres in the quarter-final and Minga Turtles in the semi-final, both in two sets.
In fact, Leca did not lose a single set in the playoff matches, which makes their triumph even more deserved. Almeria, who won the tournament in 2019, fought hard in the final, yet the lethal duo of Sara Pinho and Beatriz Correia combined for 37 points, helping the Portuguese team to take revenge and denying their Spanish rivals a second straight title.
For Leca, it was the second participation in the Champions Cup final after 2018, when they lost to LV Sport Multichem Szentendrei NKE from Hungary in a shootout.
The bronze went to the German team Minga Turtles, who came from behind in the third-place match to beat two-time champions Szentendrei in a shootout (20:22, 15:12, 9:8). Notably Minga's top scorer Paula Reips did a good job again, adding 24 points to her tally and holding her position at the top of the scoring chart with a grand total of 133 points.
Best plays and pictures from the final day
Missed the day's action and do not have the time to watch all the action? Catch the best plays plus photos from the final day below: