Debutants meet Sporting in Men's Challenge Cup Final
Romanian side AHC Potaissa Turda, debutants in Europe this season, managed to fight back from an eight-goal deficit (30:22) against Icelandic side Valur after their first leg win to qualify for the EHF Men’s Challenge Cup Final with a nine-goal win (32:23) in the second leg of the semi-final to win overall (54:53).
Sporting CP from Portugal, who were five goals up (32:27) after their away game against JMS Hurry-Up, easily beat their Netherlands opponents in Portugal by 23 goals in the second leg (37:14) to win 69:41 overall.
SEMI-FINAL, SECOND LEG
Sporting CP (POR) vs JMS Hurry-Up (NED) 37:14 (21:7)
Sporting CP win 69:41 on aggregate
Sporting had already taken a huge step towards the final by winning the first match in the Netherlands 32:27, and they certainly left no doubt in the second leg at home on (29 April) Saturday evening.
It did not take them long to get ahead 10:2 and already at half-time they were leading by 14 goals (21:7), but the home side did not relax in the second half either and increased their lead by another nine goals. “It was the result of a week of hard work,” said Sporting coach Hugo Canela. “Now we have been able to fulfil our aim of reaching the final and our next goal is obviously to win that too, but first, I would like to congratulate my players for the fine job they have done.”
Sporting’s 37 goals were scored by no less than 13 players with Michal Kopco and Igor Zabic top scorers on five goals each. Joel Heusmann was top scorer for JMS Hurry-Up with four goals.
AHC Potaissa Turda (ROU) vs Valur (ISL) 32:23 (16:9)
AHC Potaissa Turda win 54:53 on aggregate
Icelandic side Valur had won the first match at home in Reykjavik 30:22, but in Romania, their opponents quickly wiped this out, catching up in the first half.
The home team were leading 15:7 and 16:8 shortly before the break, and at the start of the second half, they were eight up again at 17:9 and 18:10.
Valur seemed to be heading for the final though as they reduced the distance to five goals several times, but towards the end, Turda managed to increase their lead again, buoyed on by their home fans.
At 28:20, they were eight goals ahead, and then went 10 goals up at 32:22 in the last minute, at which point there was no more doubt about the Romanian team’s place in the final.
Photo: AHC Potaissa Turda Facebook