Hugo Descat wants proper farewell from Dinamo
In their fifth VELUX EHF Champions League season, Dinamo Bucuresti have made it out of their group for the first time. After finishing first in Group D, they will now take part in the group phase knockout.
At stake: a ticket for the Last 16 of the competition, which would be their first since 1998. Back then, French left wing Hugo Descat was only four years young.
“We are writing history at the moment. For us to qualify and finish first of the Group is, up to a point, unbelievable,” Descat said. “But I think we played very well since September and we gained a lot of confidence.”
Descat arrived in Romania two years ago from French side Créteil and immediately found his foot in the Romanian capital. For sure, it was different from what he was used to, but he has learnt a lot through those two seasons.
“The Champions League was the main reason why I wanted to come to Bucharest. This was something I didn’t know before,” Descat said. “To play against the best sides in Europe every weekend really makes you grow as a player. I am definitely not disappointed.”
After winning their group, there is one opponent left between Dinamo and a coveted spot in the Last 16: Sporting CP. The first leg of their knockout tie takes place in Portugal on Saturday, 23 February at 1900 CET (live on ehfTV.com), folowed by the return a week later in Romania.
Sporting are not an easy opponent, as the Portuguese side features various experienced players, even with VELUX EHF FINAL4 experience, like Carlos Ruesga. But according to Descat, there’s definitely room for Bucharest to get past this hurdle.
“We will play the return game at home and that could be the key factor between two very close teams. At home, we feel very confident with our fans backing us. They are very important if we want to qualify,” Descat said.
Statistics seem to back his words: Dinamo lost just two home games in the entire year 2018, and those were not Champions League games.
Helping Bucharest to get into the Last 16 would be a huge goodbye gift from Descat to the club that has been his home for the last two seasons. His signing with Montpellier was announced in January and Descat admitted he is really looking forward to going back to his home country.
“I was really missing it,” he said “And you can’t say ‘no’ when a club like Montpellier, which won the Champions League last season, comes knocking on your door, can you?”
At 26, Montpellier will only be the third club in his career. Signing in the south of France and getting to play with some of the best players around Europe means the world to him.
“This is a huge step in my career. Coming here and playing the Champions League with Dinamo already was one, but Montpellier is another level,” he said. “Patrice Canayer, the manager, puts a lot of faith in me and I hope I will be able to reward him and the club once I am there.”
But for now, the idea of playing in another jersey is far away from his mind. He wants to give it all in order to help Dinamo achieve their goals before the end of the season.
“I want to finish my time here on a high. You can count on me to help the club as much as I can against Sporting,” said Descat, before adding: “And fingers crossed, for the following round as well. That would be a great thank you gift for my teammates.”