This Tuesday, FC Porto beat Bnei Herzliya (68-65) in Israel, for the first leg of the second qualifying round for the FIBA European Cup. The blue and whites have a three points advantage for the second leg, scheduled for October 11 (Wednesday) at 20h30 (Porto Canal), at Dragão Caixa, where they can assure the qualification to the group stage.
Even without Will Sheehey, injured, FC Porto had a great first-half and reached an advantage of 13 points, which Bnei Herzliya continued to recover from before the break. More effective on both sides of the court, the Dragons took advantage of the offensive misfortune of the home team to challenge the odds in the first 20 minutes. The five point difference at halftime, favourable to FC Porto (37-32), wasn’t a true reflection of the excellent performance for the blue and whites, led by an inspired Marcus Gilbert (19 points).
The third period was more of the same as the first two and FC Porto continued on top, especially where it matters: the scoreboard. At the start of the fourth and final period, the Dragons had an advantage of 10 points (55-45), and didn’t waste it, despite the strong reaction of Bnei Herzlyia, actually moving ahead of the match with only two minutes to go (63-62). FC Porto didn’t fear the home team’s momentum and reached an extraordinary 68-65 victory, which reinforces the Dragons' ambition to secure a spot in the group stage of the competition.
In a tremendous display of strength and quality of the team led by Moncho López, who, the day before, refused to state the Dragons would win the match, it is inevitable to praise the performances of Marcus Gilbert (24 points and 7 rebounds), Will Hanley (15 points and 6 rebounds) and Sasa Borovnjak (13 points and 6 rebounds).
BNEI HERZLIYA-FC PORTO, 65-68
FIBA European Cup, 2nd qualifying round, 1st leg
October 3, 2017
Dragão Caixa, Porto
Referees: Alexandru Olaru (Romania), Beniamino Manuel Attard (Italy) and Vincent Delestrée (Belgium)
BNEI HERZLIYA: Taurean Green (14), Shawn Dawson (10), Samuel Singer (2), Jeff Adrien (14) and Halil Kanacevic (8)
Substitutes: Xavier Thames (8), Tom Maayan, Orr Leumi, Amit Erlich, Noam Avivi, Alex Rosenberg (1) and Dominique Archie (8)
Coach: Michael Gorke
FC Porto: Pedro Pinto, Marcus Gilbert (24), Miguel Queiroz, Will Hanley (15) and Sasa Borovnjak (13)
Substitutes: André Bessa, Pedro Bastos (8), Ferrán Ventura, António Monteiro (2) and Miguel Miranda (6)
Coach: Moncho López
At halftime: 32-37
Partials: 17-15, 15-22, 13-18, 20-13