Unstoppable comeback seals Benfica’s maiden quarter-final
A four-goal loss in the first leg meant Benfica had a mountain to climb to reach the quarter-finals of the EHF European League, but the Portuguese side delivered a masterstroke in the second leg of Last 16 phase against Fenix Toulouse Handball, to clinch a 36:30 win.
SL Benfica (POR) vs Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA) 36:30 (17:15)
SL Benfica win 70:68 on aggregate
- Petar Djordjic and line player Rogerio Moraes scored four goals each to send Benfica on a 15:6 run between the 20thand 40th minutes, which turned the game on its head
- after scoring 13 times in the first leg, Serbian left-back Petar Djordjic added another 14 goals this evening, his fourth game this season that ended with at least 10 goals
- Toulouse left-wing Nemanja Ilic, the European League top scorer, had another strong outing against Benfica, and scored eight times, after he had already put eight goals past the Portuguese side in the first leg
- Benfica reached the quarter-finals for the first time and made it to the top eight sides in a European tournament for the first time since reaching the EHF Men’s Challenge Cup final in the 2015/16 season
- the Portuguese side will face either RK Gorenje Velenje or another French side, USAM Nimes Gard, in the quarter-finals, with an eye of their first-ever EHF Finals Men berth
Flawless Djordjic helps Benfica write history
It was the highest-scoring Last 16 doubleheader from this season’s EHF European League Men, as Benfica and Fenix Toulouse Handball combined for 138 goals in the two games they played. But over the two legs, Benfica looked more composed and never backed down, helped by a left-back in amazing form.
Petar Djordjic scored 27 of his team’s 70 goals against Toulouse, or 38.5 per cent, in an amazing display of consistency, which will be remembered as one of the best individual performances in the competition. Djordjic also had his best-ever outing in a European competition, scoring 14 times from 18 shots, with only six goals coming from penalties.
The atmosphere today was amazing, with all the fans supporting us at their best. That was the key to winning this game and turning this elimination match that was very difficult after the game in Toulouse.