FC Porto conceded their second defeat in the FIBA European Cup, in Finland, this Wednesday, losing 84-88 to Kataja Basket in a match where victory could have gone to either side. With this result, the Dragons are third in group C, with two points, the same as the Austrian team Kapfenberg Bulls (opponent for the next matchday), two behind the Finnish team, first, and Mornar Bar, from Montenegro, second.
It was a balanced match at LähiTapiola Areena, in Joensuu, with the two teams very close on the scoreboard, even if the current Finnish champion was always ahead. But, while on the offense, the blue and whites were in good shape, the defence lacked some intensity and aggressiveness to stop the opponent, with a very strong inside game. In fact, this was the secret to tilt the result in favour of Kataja, as they knew how to exploit the defensive mistakes of the Dragons to keep FC Porto at a more or less comfortable distance during the first-half.
In the third period, the blue and whites, who already count on Will Sheehey (recovered from injury), brought the scoreboard even closer, reaching a chance at moving forward, but the home team was able to withstand the pressure and entered the last decisive quarter with the same advantage of six points with which they went to the break. With Sasa Borovnjak (the top scorer of the match, with 23 points) dominating the inside game, the Dragons continued to create many problems for the opponents, but failed in decisive moments of a match that only had the final scoreboard in the last seconds.
The team led by Moncho López will now prepare for the double-matchday of the League, which, next weekend, will take the Dragons to the Azores: on Saturday, at 16h00, the opponent is the Terceira Basket; on Sunday, at 17h30, the match is against Lusitânia. Both matches will broadcasted live on Porto Canal.
KATAJA BASKET-FC PORTO, 88-84
FIBA European Cup, Group C, matchday 2
October 25, 2017
LähiTapiola Areena, Joensuu, Finland
Referees: Valentin Oliot (France), Gavin Williams (England) and Grzegorz Ziemblicki (Poland)
Kataja Basket: Makalainen (8), Huolila (14), Williams (16), Saunders (14) and Pitts (20)
Substitutes: Seppala (10), Bejerano, Niemi, Perttu (6), Djeen, Lasaroff and Kauhanen
Coach: Greg Gibson
FC Porto: Pedro Pinto (9), Marcus Gilbert (18), Miguel Queiroz (2), Will Hanley (6) and Sasa Borovnjak (23)
Substitutes: André Bessa (4), Pedro Bastos (3), Ferrán Ventura, António Monteiro and Miguel Miranda (4), Will Sheehey (15)
Coach: Moncho López
At halftime: 45-39
Partials: 25-19, 20-20, 20-21, 23-24