On Tuesday, Benfica qualified for the last four of the European League, with a 27-27 draw with RK Gorenje, in Velenje, Slovenia, a game they reached with a seven-goal advantage. After the 36-29 achieved in Lisbon, in the first leg of the quarter-finals, we knew that the comfortable advantage was good and gave every reason to trust in the historic qualification, so far only obtained by the Portuguese teams. in 2018/2019 by Port FC. Unexpected, yes, was how easily the ‘Incarnates’ managed the advantage – they were never trailing by more than three and reached the break winning by 14-11. Croatia’s RK Nexe also advances to the ‘final four’, which takes place May 28-29, which eliminated Denmark’s GOG. The third and fourth qualifiers will still be known today, after the Wisla Plock-Kadetten Schaffhausen and Magbdebourg-Nantes clashes.
In the Red Hall pavilion in Velenje, with 1,200 spectators in the stands – about half a house – Benfica rocked in the second half for a very controlled game, always ahead or tied, until Peter Sisko finally put the home side ahead, with 27-26 less than three minutes remaining.
There was still time for Benfica to score the last goal and seal the tie, through Slovenian Reds side Tadej Kljun.
In the aggregate of the two sets, the team coached by the Spaniard ‘Chema’ Rodríguez qualified for the last matches with a total of 63-56 in their favor.
The game, which was refereed by Austrian duo Radojko Brkic and Vladimir Rancik, had Sweden’s Jonas Kallman as the top finisher with five goals, and Romania’s Demis Grigoras and Serbia’s Petar Djordjic with four.