FC Porto gave a good response to Füchse Berlin and was in the lead for most of the first-half, but ended up losing this Saturday, 27-30, at Dragão Caixa, for the first leg of the third round of the EHF Cup. The opponent was full of international stars, and is currently leading the German league (unanimously considered the best in the world), but had to sweat and make use of all their weapons to beat the Dragons.
Ángel Hernández, with eight goals, and Miguel Martins, with six, stood out in the blue and white attack, while Hugo Laurentino had moments of brilliance in the goal, which he defended almost full time, after the injury of Alfredo Quintana, five minutes in, after hitting Paul Drux.
FC Porto started the match well, almost always leading the scoreboard until the last ten minutes of the first-half. The Dragons surprised the German team with an aggressive defence and efficiency in the first line throws by Ángel Hernández, who scored three of the first six goals for the blue and whites. The advantage reached three goals.
Laurentino was also well in the match and had a number of important saves, but truth is that Füsche started recovering halfway through the first-half. This was mainly caused by the fact that Petkovic sent in some of his main players, such as central Nenadic, and by Heinevetter, German international, who closed the goal, defending even two seven meters throws. Füchse moved ahead of the scoreboard on minute 24 (10-11) and reached halftime in the lead (12-14).
In the second-half, the opponent mostly controlled the match, but the Dragons still reached four ties: three just after the break and one (23-23) on minute 44, following a 3-0 partial. However, despite the efforts of the blue and white shooters and Laurentino (three saves in one on zero in the final minutes), truth is that, when they had to, the foxes (the translation of the word füchse) accelerated and created several counter- attacks.
Lindberg (11 goals) and Nenadic (six) are world-class players who carried their team and showed why Füchse is considered to be a serious candidate to winning the competition. The second leg is on Thursday (18h30, mainland Portugal time, with live broadcast in Porto Canal) and the blue and white mission is undoubtedly very complicated.
FC PORTO-FÜCHSE BERLIM, 27-30
EHF Cup, 3rd round, 1st leg
November 18, 2017
Dragão Caixa, Porto
Referees: Péter Herczeg and Péter Südi (Hungary)
FC PORTO: Alfredo Quintana and Hugo Laurentino (g.r.); António Areia (3), Ángel Hernández (8), Daymaro Salina, Victor Iturriza (2), Miguel Martins (6), Diogo Branquinho (2), Nikola Spelic, Yoel Cuni Morales (1), Rui Silva Carrillo (2), Aleksander Spende (2), Jonas Alves, Felipe Santaela and Miguel Alves
Coach: Lars Walther
FÜCHSE BERLIM: Silvio Heinevetter and Petr Stochl (g.r.); Bjarki Elisson (3), Drago Vukovic, Kevin Struck, Jakov Gojun, Paul Drux (2), Steffen Fäth (1), Petar Nenadic (6), Marko Kopljar (3), Hans Lindberg (11), Erik Schmidt and Mattias Zachrisson (1)
Coach: Velimir Petkovic
At halftime: 12-14
Bookings: Disqualification for Jakov Gojun (9m)