Ambitious Porto aiming for first finals appearanceArticle
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MEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #13: One of the dominating forces in the Portuguese domestic league for many years, FC Porto Sofarma are now aiming for success at European level
»2018-19 Men's News

Ambitious Porto aiming for first finals appearance

With a consistent and growing project, FC Porto aim to reach the Men’s EHF Cup Finals for the first time. The club has been collecting 20 national titles but is now eager for more.

“Playing the group phase of the EHF Cup is a very good and important stage of our season. Our team will play against very good teams and the enthusiasm is big among the players,” Porto coach Magnus Andersson said.

Starting in Qualification Round 1, Porto defeated reigning Challenge Cup winners AHC Potaissa Turda and SKA Minsk in the early stages of the competition, but truly underlined their European ambitions in Round 3, when they eliminated the third-place team and hosts of last season’s finals, SC Magdeburg.

A twist that history will never erase

The German side looked set for the group phase again when they defeated Porto 26:23 in the first leg. But backed by a strong blue-white home crowd in the Dragão Caixa, Porto turned the tie around with a blistering 34:27 victory, led by eight goals from António Areia - a twist that history will never erase.

“A little luck and a lot of team work, with great defence and goalkeeping,” Andersson said when asked about the secrets behind Porto reaching the EHF Cup Group Phase.

Goalkeeper Alfredo Quintana, Daymaro Salina, Víctor Iturriza and Alexis Borges constitute a real defensive wall, which will be hard to break through for any team. The Portuguese team's defensive performance will be key to their performance in the group stage of this competition.

Asked about his favourites to reach the Men's EHF Cup Finals, Andersson named his own team as well the three German clubs, THW Kiel, Füchse Berlin and TSV Hannover-Burgdorf.

FC Porto Sofarma (POR)

Qualification for Men’s EHF Cup 2018/19 Group Phase: Round 3: 57:53 aggregate win against SC Magdeburg (GER)

Newcomers: Thomas Bauer (no club), Djibril Mbengue (Stuttgart), Yoan Balasquez (SD Teucro), Leonel Fernandes (ISMAI), Fábio Magalhães (Chartres), Alexis Borges (Barça)

Left the club:  Yoel Cuni (Istres), Jose Carrillo (Ademar Leon), Nikola Spelic (Maribor), Aleksander Spende (Metalurg)

Coach: Magnus Andersson (since 2018)

Team captains: Hugo Laurentino and Daymaro Salina

Opponents in the group matches: Liberbank Cuenca, HC Dobrogea Sud Constanta and TTH Holstebro in Group C

EHF Cup records:
Group Phase (2): 2014/15, 2016/17
Last 16 (3): 1998/99, 2010/11, 2011/12

Other European Cup records:

EHF Champions League:
Group Phase (2): 2013/14, 2015/16
Last 32 (1): 1999/2000

Cup Winners Cup:
Quarter-final (2): 2000/01, 2001/02

National league:
20 titles (1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

National cup:
7 titles (1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1994, 2006, 2007)

TEXT: Tiago Nogueira / ew