On the 31st official match, the first defeat finally came. This Saturday afternoon, FC Porto lost at the pavilion of Midtjyland, by 29-26, in the first matchday of group B of the EHF Cup, which also includes the German team Göppingen and the Spanish team Granollers. The Dragons were in control for most of the match, but the last 18 minutes, when they conceded a partial of 5-11, were deadly. 42 minutes in, the blue and whites were in the lead by 21-18, but, 5 minutes later, the partial was at 22-20.
The first-half was balanced, but FC Porto was the one ahead most of the times, reaching the break with a two goals lead, thanks to the shots from Matic and Miguel Martins. The goalkeepers of both formations should be praised, but Hugo Laurentino had a noteworthy performance, as he saved even a seven meters throw.
In the second-half, the Dragons had a three goals lead on five occasions, and had the chance to make it four goals – which could have been determinant –, but couldn’t stop the opponent from having a fantastic end of the match. The Danish team reached the tie on minute 50 (22-22) and then moved ahead, taking advantage of the fact that the Dragons failed to score for almost nine minutes, between minutes 46 and 55. The performance of goalkeeper Winkler and a couple of lost balls on the attack explain this negative period. The blue and white reaction after this was not enough and there’s a feeling of helplessness for the way the refereeing team didn’t hesitate to give a goal for a throw from Esepen Lie Hansen (26-23) that doesn’t quite seem to have gone in.
Shooter Espen Lie Hansen, vice-champion of the world in January, playing for Norway, was a continuous threat for the Dragons, and the top scorer of the match, with eight goals in 11 shots. Alexis Borges and António Areia, with five goals, were the best for FC Porto. For matchday two, on February 19 (Sunday), at 19h30, there’s a home match against Göppingen.
MIDTJYLLAND-FC PORTO, 29-26
EHF Cup, group B, matchday 1
February 11, 2017
Referees: Konstantinos Katsikis and Michalis Michailidis (Greece)
MIDTJYLLAND: Tim Winkler and Lars Eggen Rismark (g.k.); Eivind Tangen (2), Oliver Bondrop, Morten Slundt (2), Rasmus Carlsen (5), Jacob Sjörslev-Ostergaard (2), Mathias Pilgaard, Lars Eggen Rismark, Dennis Kirkegaard (2), Bastian Straede, Kristian Gjessing, Jorgen Rasmussen (1), Kasper Gudnitz (7), Casper Sas Sörensen and Espen Lie Hansen (8)
Coach: Morten Secher
FC PORTO: Alfredo Quintana and Hugo Laurentino (g.k.), Victor Iturriza, Leandro Semedo, Nikola Spelic, Gustavo Rodrigues (2), Miguel Martins (3), Rui Silva (3), Daymaro Salina (2), Felipe Santaela, José Carrillo (1), Ricardo Moreira (2), Alexis Borges (5), Hugo Santos, António Areia (5) and Marko Matic (3)
Coach: Ricardo Costa
At halftime: 13-15