Four victories in four matches. This is the record that FC Porto reached this Saturday afternoon to guarantee the presence in the quarter finals of the Euroleague in roller hockey after beating the Italian team Follonica, 7-4, at home, for matchday four of Group B. With the first place confirmed, the Dragons now wait to see who the opponent will be, the second team of group C, which includes Barcelona, Benfica, Forte dei Marmi and Montreux.
At Dragão Caixa, the Italian team was actually the first to pose danger, even managing to open the scoreboard after a first attempt at goal by Nélson Filipe, but the superiority of the Dragons came up as the first-half moved on, and, after the equalizer by Hélder Nunes (left the bench for a few seconds to take a penalty), FC Porto seemed to be the only team on the rink. More intense than the opponent, especially in the last five minutes, the blue and whites went to the break leading by 3-1, a margin that was even too small given the number of offensive attacks.
The second-half turned out to be more balanced, even if the blue and white continued strong in the first minutes. The advantage at the break was extended to 5-1 and then 6-2, but then the Dragons allowed for a nerve wrecking approach, after Davide Banini made it 6-4 with four minutes to go. The result left the Italians dreaming of something more than reducing the disadvantage, but Telmo Pinto put an end to all doubts, setting the final 7-4 with two minutes to go.
At the end of the match, coach Guillem Cabestany admitted, talking to Porto Canal, that his team didn’t have a good performance, but stressed the objectives in the Euroleague were reached, and that will allow players to focus on the difficult matches at home coming, such as the match against Sporting, next Wednesday (21h00): “We managed to chain some good moments, but the team didn’t do well. We have a very important match to follow and we were coming from another very important match. We wanted the qualification, we reached it and we fulfilled our objective. Now, without pressure, we can think of the next match”, the Catalan coach stated.
FC PORTO FIDELIDADE-FOLLONICA, 7-4
Euroleague, matchday 4, Group B
January 13, 2018
Dragão Caixa, Porto
Referees: Xavier Bleuzen and Julien Thibaud (France)
FC PORTO: Nélson Filipe (g.k), Telmo Pinto, Reinaldo Garcia, Reinaldo Garcia and Gonçalo Alves
Also played: Hélder Nunes (cap.), Alvarinho, Ton Baliu and Jorge Silva
Coach: Guillem Cabestany
FOLLONICA: Giovanni Menichetti (g.k), Mario Rodriguez, Federico Pagnini (cap.), Davide Banini and Lucas Martinez
Also played: Pablo Saavedra, Stefano Paghi and Andrea Fantozzi
Coach: Enrico Mariotti
At halftime: 3-1
Scorers: Davide Banini (2m, 46m), Hélder Nunes (2m, 17m), Reinaldo Garcia (12m), Alvarinho (26m), Gonçalo Alves (31m), Lucas Martinez (35), Jorge Silva (41m), Andrea Fantozzi (44m), Telmo Pinto (48m)
Bookings: blue card to Stefano Paghi (16m)