In the third round of the EHF European League, Sporting Clube de Portugal beat IFK Kristianstad, in Sweden, and got their second victory in the competition – the match against Fusche Berlin was postponed due to positive cases of COVID-19 in the German team.
Although the home team was the first to open the scoring, it was the lions who came in with everything and from an early time showed that they wanted the win. Kristianstad kept the result balanced, with right-back Teitur Einarsson showing himself as the most active element in the Swedish attack, but after eight minutes Sporting decided to increase the speed and distance themselves.
Rui Silva’s team jumped from 5-6 to 6-12 within ten minutes, and although there were still 40 minutes to go, they seemed to have put an end to the match. IFK Kristianstad was showing great difficulty in overcoming the Portuguese defence and goalkeeper Manuel Gaspar, and at half-time, the scoreboard indicated 11-16 to the visitors.
At half-time, coach Ljubomir Vranjes said something to his athletes, who came back from rest with a different intensity. Taking advantage of some relaxation by the green-and-whites, IFK Kristianstad grew in the match, shortening the gap consistently, and in the 43rd minute, they reached the minimum difference, with Olafur Gudmundsson scoring the 20-21.
Rui Silva asked for a time-out to wake his players up, and the conversation stroke a nerve. Goals from Francisco Tavares, Frankis Carol, Pedro Valdes, Nuno Roque and Tiago Rocha allowed Sporting to make a 6-0 partial, which put the result in 20-27 and guaranteed the Leonine victory.
Until the end, IFK Kristianstad still managed to narrow the gap but ended up losing 27-32.
Adam Nyfjäll, 28-year-old Swedish pivot, was the best scorer of the match, scoring nine goals in ten shots, but the highlight goes to Manuel Gaspar, Sporting keeper who, with eleven saves, was decisive, and to Darko Djukic (seven goals), Frankis Carol (six goals), and pivot Tiago Rocha, who finished with five goals scored and 100% effectiveness.