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Photo: Uroš Hočevar

A win for Portugal in a thrilling finish

The first match of the day in Koprivnica was between Romania and Portugal.

Martim Costa opened the match scoring in Portugal’s first action. Romania’s Catalin Braescu brought a tie, but Portugal furiously returned the favour with four precise shots. Andre Mitu broke their streak but it didn’t take long for Portugal to add another one (2:6) in the seventh minute. Portugal’s domination throughout the first half made it difficult for Romania to entirely catch up but, compared to the first 15 minutes, they came close. Although Jordi Giralt’s team picked up their rhythm in the last ten minutes, the Portuguese had a two-goal lead at the half-time (16:18).

Romania’s two-goal series brought them a goal away from a tie (18:19) but Salvador Salvador scored for a new Portugal’s lead. Portuguese three-goal series was interrupted by Tudor Bogdan Bugulet and goalkeeper Robert Rusu’s score in the empty goal. Nuno Santos was forced to call a time out when Romania came only a goal down in the 41st minute. The one-minute break didn’t help his players as they missed a shot and Mihai Milu scored for a tie (23:23) and only seconds later for Romania’s lead (24:23). Last 15 minuted saw Portugal’s deconcentration and Romania’s well-built actions and rise. Giralt’s team entered the last five minutes leading by two (30:28) but it took Portugal only a minute to tie. In a thrilling finish, Portugal took the win (31:32).

Romania’s best player was Alexandru Alin Ghivil and Portugal’s was Martim Costa.

Top scorer for Romanis was Alexandru Alin Ghivil with six goals and for Portugal was Martim Costa scoring ten.

Romania coach, Jordi Alberich Giralt: We didn’t manage to get a win today, even though we worked hard. I keep repeating the same things every day- we must continue to fight, work hard and improve. Again, it was our bad start that decided the match, and that is one more thing we need to improve in he future. Hopefully, we gained experience from this tournament.

Romania player, Alexandru Alin Ghivil: We weren’t focused enough, we could have won, but didn’t manage our game in the end. I think we lost the momentum and Portugal won, because they wanted the win more than us and were more focused. I don’t want to say we were unlucky, because we played nice 50 minutes, but we lost.

Portugal player, Martim Costa: We did an excellent job in today’s game, especially in the first half. We did some things wrong in the second half, but my team got a win in the end. We didn’t quit, kept our heads up and put up a great fight to win it. Now we play to get to the World Championship and that’s even more important for us.

Portugal coach, Joao Varejao: Today we deserved to win, but we had some problems until the very end. Overall, we played very well and definitely got a deserved win. We could have won by more goals, it was a bit difficult in the end. My team managed to remain calm, we knew what we needed to do to get a win, and my players did it. Today was the first final, and the next game is another final for us. We need to get it in our minds to achieve another win tomorrow, like we did today.

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