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18.05.2016, 10:56◄ last page     


FEATURE: ABC/UMinho right back Pedro Spinola shares his insight ahead of the second leg of the all-Portuguese Challenge Cup Final
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Spínola: "We cannot just play with our hearts"

With one game left to find out who will win the Challenge Cup this season, ABC/UMinhohave one hand on the trophy after last weekend's 28:22 win at Benfica.

The second leg of the final takes place on Saturday 21 May at 19:00 hrs local time in Braga and it can be watched live on ehfTV. eurohandball.com spoke to ABC right back Pedro Spinola about the remaining 60 minutes.

"For the first leg, we had to rethink our game, make fewer mistakes and control our pace better because we have many and important injured players and we cannot just play with our hearts," says Pedro Spínola.

Spínola was one of the top scorers of the first leg with six goals and he believes that the team have "an important advantage" but that "there’s a lot to improve from game to game."

"We have to reduce the technical errors and the lack of concentration that happens sometimes and is really bad in games of this level. We also want to try to stay calm and keep our pace in the game," says the 32-year-old.

To the right back, Benfica transformed during the season and got stronger. He also says that the team of the south of Portugal took advantage "of a tall, strong defence and two great goalkeepers that provide more security and ability to the defence."

The "yellow fever" is ready for the second leg

ABC/UMinho fans are called the "yellow fever" and they are expected in big numbers this weekend for the game that would be the first European trophy for the team and the second European trophy for Portugal.

"Our fans, our home and everything around us are really important. Everything is spontaneous in this club and as always we know that our fans won’t miss the game because they really love this sport."

Spínola also says that "ABC is synonymous with handball" and that the value of the team "proves itself every day."

Physical and emotional difficulties

For the right back, playing the final against Benfica and not a foreign team is a little ambiguous. The ABC/UMinho player believes that this final does not bring "one taste of novelty or anxiety before the unexpected," but provides "an advantageous preparation for both sides."

Both teams are also playing the national championship final and Spínola believes that the task of playing both competitions brings physical and emotional difficulties.

"It is important to win both titles, but they have different connotations. The national championship is the main point and the most desired trophy. The Challenge Cup is an achievement that puts us on the European handball map," he says.

The Portuguese handball is evolving

The 33-year-old has represented many Portuguese teams, has some trophies under his belt and he was already involved in many European competitions.

This season, he is fighting for two trophies but when asked about the highlight of his career, the Portuguese player talked about the time that he managed to enter the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League with FC Porto and says it was "a dream come true" and an achievement that makes him very proud.

"We faced the giants of European handball, played against players who are idols and role models to us, we showed our value and overcoming capacity and we recognised that it inevitably opened doors for our players to succeed abroad, for example Tiago Rocha."


TEXT: Filipa Sousa / es, cor

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