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News article

2 months ago - 1/23/2020

Benfica looking for European glory

SL Benfica sensationally knocked out RK Nexe in qualification round 3 of the Men's EHF Cup to secure their place in the 2019/20 EHF Cup group phase.

Coached by Carlos Resende – one of the greatest figures in Portuguese handball – Benfica hope to fight hard in each game in group A and grow as the competition progresses.

Three questions before the Men’s EHF Cup group phase:

Can Benfica advance from the group phase and reach the quarter-finals?

After an investment in the squad and redoubled hopes, SL Benfica could achieve something historic in EHF Cup.

René Toft Hansen, who was named in the EHF Champions League 2014/15 All-star team as the best defender, joined from Veszprém last summer, bolstering a squad that already included France's EHF EURO 2014 and IHF Men's 2015 World Championship winner Alix Kevynn Nyokas.

But it is going to be hard in group A against MT Melsungen, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg and KPR Gwardia Opole.

How important will Carlos Resende's experience be to this team?

Carlos Resende will always be associated with a fabulous period in Portuguese handball.

He was a great player and now wants to pass on those experiences to his players. His experience could make the difference in the EHF Cup.

Can Benfica repeat what FC Porto achieved last season?

Last season, FC Porto appeared in the EHF Cup Finals and achieved a historic third place finish. Thus, if SL Benfica can match or surpass Porto’s placing, it would be another extraordinary milestone for Portuguese handball.

The ‘eagles’ have the quality in the team to achieve that – but their mindset will determine the rest.

Under the spotlight: Petar Djordjic

Petar Djordjic is having a very special season. The left back has scored 149 goals in 20 league matches and 20 goals in three games played in the EHF Cup.

He has an impressive shot, scores incredible goals and, as you would expect from a great finisher, provides a difficult challenge for any defence to stop him.

It is also noteworthy that Djordjic scored seven goals in the away leg against RK Nexe. He has a great mindset and is a fundamental pillar in the red-and-white team.

Self-esteem

SL Benfica reinforced well for the new season, where their big goal is to become Portuguese champions, but it is already approaching an extremely complicated stage.

They face strong competition in the national league and are already seven points behind FC Porto and Sporting.

However, in this edition of the EHF Cup, Ristovski's goal post was Benfica’s friend against Nexe. Furthering their European journey would be an amazing dream for the side from the Portuguese capital.

Fun fact

Benfica have players in their squad who have already won the Challenge Cup.

What the numbers say

SL Benfica have not been national champions since 2007/08, which is a long time for a club of this size.

Becoming Portuguese champions should always be their main objective, especially as it has been more than a decade since their last title, but the possibility of European glory can never be set aside.

SL Benfica (POR)

Qualified for the Men’s EHF Cup group phase: 63:46 vs RK Dubrava (R2), 54:54 advancing on away goals vs RK Nexe (R3)

Newcomers: Carlos Molina (SC Magdeburg), René Toft Hansen (Telekom Veszprém HC), Petar Djordjic (HC Meshkov Brest), Gustavo Capdeville (returned from loan), Francisco Pereira (returned from loan).

Left the club:

Coach: Carlos Resende (since 2017/18)

Team captain: Paulo Moreno

European Cup records:

EHF Champions League:
Qualification (1): 2008/09

EHF Cup:
Group phase (1): 2016/17
Round 4 (1): 2009/10
Round 3 (1): 2012/13
Round 2 (1): 2008/09
Qualification round 3 (2): 2018/19, 2013/14
Qualification round 2 (1): 2017/18

Challenge Cup:
Finalists (2): 2015/16, 2010/11
Semi-Finals (2): 2014/15, 2007/08

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finals (1): 2011/12
Round 3 (1): 2002/03

Portuguese league: 7 titles (1962, 1975, 1982, 1989, 1990, 2008)
Portuguese cup: 6 titles (1985, 1986, 1987, 2011, 2016, 2018)
Portuguese super cup: 6 titles (1991, 1994, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018)

Author: Tiago Nogueira / jw