Sporting CP take all points from Skopje after tough battle
Hugo Canela’s men are chasing the Group C leaders and following their home defeat to Presov, they very much needed the points from tonight’s match. Their comfortable, though not straightforward, win means with ten points they have closed the gap to Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, but the Danes have one game in hand.
- Improved second half performance highlights Sporting win
- Sporting CP won all three away Group Phase matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League
- Third straight head-to-head win for Sporting CP against Metalurg
HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Sporting CP (POR) 24:31 (18:17)
For a long time Sporting were unable to get into their rhythm. Metalurg, boosted by their win over Chekhovskie Medvedi last weekend played well in the back court, while making things difficult for their opponents with aggressive defence.
As Danilo Brestovac said on the press conference before the game, results are not important in this phase of the season for the Macedonian team, but his enthusiasm on the bench is an example to the players and they do keep on improving.
This young team has really started to pick up the momentum and despite today´s loss, they are showing why Metalurg have raised stars such as Filip Taleski, Filip Kuzmanovski and co.
Sporting’s players showed more experience in the deciding phase of the game - the beginning of the second half. They scored four goals in the opening ten minutes, while Metalurg scored only once. This quick turnaround brought the Portuguese side’s wings into play and they cruised through the second half to win the game convincingly. However the score line does not fully reflect the game play.
Matevz Skok added some fine saves and the productive back court players started scoring more goals with Ivan Nikcevic, and Fabio Rocha proved a reliable option on the wing stretching effectively the width of the court allowing for these breakthroughs in the back court. Luis Frade also worked hard on the line.
Metalurg do lack consistency over sixty minutes, moreover towards the end they looked like they were lacking the energy to fight for the result, which was to be expected as they were playing their third game since Sunday, the previous one less than 24 hours ago.
Martin Tomovski of Metalurg noted how his side dropped off in the second half: "The opponent played on a high level. We started the game very good, we had the advantage in the first half, but in the second when it mattered we couldn’t score from ideal positions."
After an impressive performance between the posts, Matevs Skok praised Sporting's opposition: "This Metalurg team deserves total respect. They played two matches on high level in just two days. You have to respect that, because it’s a young team that has a fighting spirit. The showed that on the court. We won the game but, we need to think about our game tonight. Metalurg doesn’t have our facilities. They showed how to fight for you’re team and that’s the only way to move forward. I think that they can be only better."Author: Tomas Cuncik/at