FC Porto took an important step this Saturday towards the third qualification round for the EHF Cup, after beating HC Ohrid, from Macedonia, by a clear 37-20 victory at Dragão Caixa. The blue and whites will go to the second leg of the second round with a comfortable advantage of 17 goals, where they will play at home, this Sunday, again in Dragão Caixa (15h00, Porto Canal).
At the preview of the debut in European competitions, coach Lars Whalter admitted to the favouritism of the Dragons against an opponent without international expression, but HC Ohrid, the third in the Macedonian league, went in eager to contradict the blue and white coach, reaching a three goals advantage early in the game, taking advantage of poor defensive actions and some hasty attacks from the blue and whites.
The alarms sounded on the bench of FC Porto and, even before the first quarter hour was done, the Danish coach was forced to ask for a time out, which ended up having almost immediate consequences on the court. The blue and whites started exploiting the lack of speed of the Macedonian team through various counterattacks, and, with a 6-0 partial, they were quick to regain the lead and they were winning by four goals at halftime (16-12 ).
In the second-half, the story of the game was quite different. The Dragons went in determined to build a comfortable advantage, imposing a pace too strong for HC Ohrid, clearly suffering a physical break, was unable to keep up and that became clear on the scoreboard, with the difference in potential between the two teams being obvious. After eight minutes, the advantage was already at eight goals, which was naturally increased until the end, with an opponent that only managed to fight in the first half hour.
In the end, Lars Whalter was a coach pleased with the team’s performance, especially in the second-half: “We started very slowly, allowing the opponent to play their game, and conceding easy goals. We corrected our mistakes and managed to go to the break in front. In the second-half, we played well, took advantage of HC Ohrid's physical break and built a good lead for the second leg. Tomorrow, we can’t be good for only 42 minutes, we will have to be on top for 60 minutes”.
HC OHRID-FC PORTO, 20-37
EHF Cup, 2nd qualifying round, 1st leg
October 14, 2017
Dragão Caixa, Porto
Referees: André Philipp Buache and Marco Meyer (Switzerland)
HC OHRID: Aleksander Stojanovski; Krste Andonoski (1), Martin Ivanoski, Jovica Mladenovski (1), Naum Kostov, Nikolce Risteski, Dervis Birdahic (4), Bojan Spasovski, Blagojce Trajvkovski, Daniel Andonoski, Lazar Adamovic (3), Josip Kezic (1), Slavisa Dimitrijeski (4) and Tomislav Kljaic (2)
Coach: Goran Andonovski
FC PORTO: Alfredo Quintana and Hugo Laurentino; Victor Iturriza (2), Nikola Spelic (4), Yoel Morales (2), Miguel Martins (2), Angel Zulueta (5), Rui Silva, Daymaro Salina (2), José Carrillo (7), Diogo Branquinho , António Areia (6), Miguel Alves (3) and Aleksander Spende (3)
Coach: Lars Whalter
At halftime: 12-16