Remember the incidences of the match.
Catalans Portuguese centre Luis Frade scored the most on the visitors’ side, six goals in seven attempts, while the ‘Dragons’ Victor Iturriza, Rui Silva and Antonio Martinez scored five each.
On a day of celebration of the 130th anniversary of the sports club, FC Barcelona, champions of Spain for 13 consecutive times, were theoretically favourites to win at the Dragão Arena, with ‘blues and whites’ and ‘blaugranas’ meeting again, after having played in the final of the Iberian Super Cup, on September 03, won by the Catalans (44-38).
Entering the match, the ‘dragons’ brought with them an exciting European record, in what proved to be an excellent start for Carlos Resende in the technical command – the two wins in the first two games, against Wisla Plock (Poland) and Celje (Slovenia), put the Portuguese in the shared lead of group B, with four points.
With the same score was FC Barcelona, without any defeat in the season, and the expressive victory against the European champions, the Germans of Magdeburg, by 32-20, foreshadowed a difficult encounter for FC Porto.
Under strong support from the fans, who packed the entire Dragon Arena, the four-time national champion had a promising entry into the match, marked by strong aggressiveness in the defensive process and with keeper Nikola Mitrevski in evidence – the Macedonian added three good saves in the first 15 minutes.
With intensity, Carlos Resende’s side even took a 4-2 lead through Antonio Martinez at the start of the fifth minute, but gradually the Spaniards’ greatest power was felt, as they responded with a 3-0 lead soon after, in a more negative phase also precipitated by the two-minute suspension imposed on Pedro Valdés.
Luis Frade, the Portuguese of the Catalan emblem, and the Slovenian Blaz Janc both registered five goals in six attempts in the first half, an effectiveness that the ‘blue and whites’ could not match, allowing varied saves to Emil Nielsen (19, throughout the match), with the goalkeeper having been the main protagonist of the match.
If the four-goal deficit at halftime (19-15) made it difficult for the national team to get a win – or even a new draw, like the one recorded in 2021 (33-33) – the entry into the second half made it almost impossible to recover.
Without the same initial glow, FC Porto showed some inability in their possessions and let FC Barcelona run away on the scoreboard until a nine-point deficit (26-17) when they were played 11 minutes into the second half hour.
With Rui Silva and Antonio Martínez in good shape, FC Porto managed to partially reduce the advantage, in a result that could have been different, were it not for Nielsen’s remarkable display, but the ‘blaugrana’ set maintained the advantage in the order of six or seven practically at all times, leaving no room for the ‘dragons’ to discuss the match in any way, that would end in a punishing 38-30.
With this result, the ‘dragons’ keep the four points in the Champions League, while FC Barcelona add six and retain the lead of group B.