ABC/UMinho close to their first European title after an away winArticle
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FINAL REVIEW: SL Benfica were unable to take advantage of the home court and lost the first leg of the Challenge Cup’s final by six goals.
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ABC/UMinho close to their first European title after an away win

After a balanced game, ABC/UMinho defeated SL Benfica 28:22 in the first leg of the Men's Challenge Cup Final on Saturday and are on a right way to their first European trophy before the final moves to Braga for the return leg.

Men’s Challenge Cup Final, Leg 1:
SL Benfica (POR) vs ABC/UMinho (POR) 22:28 (10:13)

After failing in all three previous European Cup finals ABC have their maiden trophy at reach. In the first leg in Lisbon the Braga-based club gained an important advantage before the second leg on home court.

Carlos Resende’s team dominated in the first half controlling a slow pace of the game, while Benfica were struggling and paid the price for several mistakes in the attack.

Ten minutes before the break, ABC/UMinho were leading by four goals (6-10) and kept their lead until the half-time whistle thanks to numerous saves of Humberto Gomes whose effort was aided by important goals from Pedro Spinola and Diogo Branquinho.

In the second half Mariano Ortega’s team tried to gear up the speed of the game and made several changes in the line-up. However, it was not enough.

Gomes in the ABC's goal continued to impress with his saves, while Benfica kept dropping balls on the offensive end. Resende’s side comfortably maintained the three-goal advantage and when Branquinho gave the visitors a five-goal lead for the first time eight minutes to the end it was all but decided that ABC/UMinho will take home a promising cushion from the capital.

Spinola and Miguel Pereira, with six goals each, were ABC/UMinho top scorers, while Javier Borragan and Elledy Samedo led Benfica with four goals each.

TEXT: Filipa Sousa / br