Porto beat Zagreb for second win of the season
Despite being eliminated from the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23, FC Porto made sure they did not waste their second-to-last home game. In the rescheduled round 12 match Porto prevented HC PPD Zagreb from securing a play-off spot by pulling out a very good performance and winning 28:26.
Even though they were down by four early in the game, Porto bounced back, turning things around thanks to Nikola Mitrevski between the posts and Pedro Veitia Valdés on the back court. Only one goal ahead at the break, the hosts broke away between minutes 40 and 45 to secure their second win of the season in the competition.
FC Porto (POR) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) 28:26 (12:11)
- Zagreb led by four early in the first half, but Porto came to the break ahead. Three goals by Mamadou Diocou and a late one by Rui Silva put them on top
- the visitors never managed to take back their early momentum as Nikola Mitrevski piled saves between Porto’s posts to help his team increase their lead
- three straight goals by Pedro Veitia Valdés gave Porto their first three-goal advantage of the evening, 16 minutes before the final whistle
- despite being up by four with nine minutes to go, Porto remained under pressure as Aleks Kavcic made the score even at the 57th minute
- Timur Dibirov netted 10 times for Zagreb while Valdés scored six for Porto
- Porto now have five points but remain last in the group while Zagreb are sixth, with eight points
Porto without pressure but with composure
Before Sunday’s game it was unclear whether Porto would just go through the motions after being eliminated last week. Anyone with that fear may have felt it justified after the first 10 minutes, but then things evolved, and in the right way.
The Porto defence soon found its rhythm, only conceding four goals in nearly 20 minutes, as winter recruit Mamadou Diocou piled up strikes. Porto put all the right ingredients in the game to beat Zagreb and to prevent them from qualifying – and they have every chance of doing the same to Orlen Wisla Plock on Thursday. Another win for Porto, ironically, would mean Zagreb’s place in the next round would be safe after all.
I’m really proud of my team, Zagreb is a strong team and we didn’t start the match in the better way; but we found the solutions. Our defence was really strong. We made a few mistakes, but we made it.
It was a tough game and we were expecting that type of game. We failed in key moments of our game and in the end the details favour FC Porto. But we still have a match to play, wish Porto wins against Wisla and we win in Denmark.