Portugal end six-year wait for qualifiers victory
Paredes was the site of a memorable night for Portugal, as they earned their first win in the EHF EURO qualifiers since 2016, beating Slovakia 24:21 with a commanding performance on the home court and spoiling the debut of Jorge Duenas who took over Slovakia only three weeks ago.
The victory put Portugal’s first two points on the group 5 table and took them to third position, while Slovakia were relegated to fourth due to the defeat, which kept them on zero points.
Portugal vs Slovakia 24:21 (13:10)
- Slovakia held the lead only once, at 2:1 in the fourth minute, before Portugal grabbed the upper hand and held the advantage to the final buzzer
- goalkeeper Jessica Ferreira and centre back Patricia Lima were the standout individuals in Portugal’s victory, with Ferreira recording 15 saves at 42 per cent and Lima scoring five goals and delivering six assists
- Slovakia kept within reach throughout the first half, although Portugal did pull away to a five-goal difference at 11:6 inside the last 10 minutes before the break
- from the 37th minute on, the result became clear, as Portugal increased the gap from that point, hitting 20 goals to Slovakia’s 13 with 17 minutes to go — although Slovakia did a superb job to come back within three goals before the final whistle
- Slovakia will hope to secure their first points when they host Portugal in the second leg of the double-header on Sunday in Topolcany
First winner in a Portugal-Slovakia clash
Portugal and Slovakia had met only twice before, in EHF EURO qualifiers back in 2005 and 2007. Both of those matches had ended in draws — 26:26 in Lagos and 31:31 in Michalovce. The result on Thursday night was therefore the first time a winner has emerged from an encounter between the two sides.
Their participation record in the EHF EURO is also almost equal, with Slovakia having reached the final tournament at two editions 20 years apart, in 1994 and 2014. Portugal have made it once, in 2008.