Sporting's untamed lions record first win in 16 seasonsArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Sporting took Besiktas by surprise, leading the game throughout en route to a 30:26 win on their long-awaited return to Europe’s premier competition

Sporting's untamed lions record first win in 16 seasons

A 16-year hiatus was broken for Portuguese champions Sporting CP, who kicked off their second-ever group phase participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League in style, with an important win at Besiktas.

·        Besiktas won four of their five home games last season in the VELUX EHF Champions League, but could not replicate that form in this season’s opener

·        Sporting recorded only their fourth win in the European premium competition, in their second season

·        The Portuguese side will host group leaders Zaporozhye in Round 2


Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) vs Sporting CP (POR) 26:30 (16:17)

It would have been difficult to imagine a better start for Sporting, who jumped to a 5:1 lead, with several attempts converted by in-form line player Tiago Rocha.

A much improved stint from Besiktas managed to bring the Turkish side closer, cutting the gap to one goal, 9:8.

The defensive prowess were nowhere to be seen in both sides, as Besiktas and Sporting continued to exchange goals, with the guests leading by only one, 17:16, at half time.

Wings punish home side’s mistakes

With more experienced and an outspoken desire to reach the next phase in the competition for the first time, the Eagles tied the score in the first minutes of the second half, 19:19, but never managed to keep that rhythm as Ramazan Döne was doing much of the damage alone, scoring 10 goals.

Veteran Ivan Nikcevic on the left wing and Pedro Portela on the right wing were unstoppable for Sporting, scoring a combined 14 goals, and made the most of Besiktas' errors to earn the Lions their first win after a 16-year hiatus, 30:26.

“With a strong start, we kept the game under our control. In the second half, we played solid defence and relied on our fast breaks for this valuable away win," claimed Sporting's Tiago Rocha.

Besiktas' Mijo Tomic said: “We knew it would be a though match, but there were times where we did not show the required intensity and looked unorganised. We hope to be better in our future games."

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cor