Aalborg hold their nerve to edge Porto
Antonio Areia was the tragic figure in a true knockout thriller. Having had a penalty saved in the final minutes and then missing Porto’s last shot on goal, he and his Porto side were left devastated at the end of Match of the Week.
A 27:24 win for Aalborg saw them inch over the line on the away-goal rule after the aggregate score finished 56:56, sending the Danish side through to their very first quarter-finals in the EHF Champions League, where they will face SG Flensburg-Handewitt.
PLAY-OFFS, LEG 2
MOTW - Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs FC Porto (POR) 27:24 (11:10)
First leg: 29:32. Aggregate result: 56:56 - Aalborg win on away goals
- Aalborg are the first Danish side since Skjern in the 2017/18 season to proceed to the quarter-finals
- it was the first victory for Aalborg in their sixth knockout match in this competition
- line player Magnus Saugstrup scored the crucial last goal but the Player of the Match was goalkeeper Simon Gade with 15 saves
- Gade’s opposite number Nikola Mitrevski also had 15 saves on his account but it was the young Dane who stood firm in crunch time
- 17:16 in minute 46 was Porto’s last lead before they fell gradually behind in a nerve-ridden match
Strandgaard, Aggefors and Saugstrup make key plays
For 58 minutes, Aalborg were unable to reach the magic three-goal lead against a brave Porto team but in the last two minutes, the Danish champions cancelled out the 32:29 defeat in the first leg.
First Mark Strandgaard made it 26:23, their first three-goal lead, followed by goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors coming on to save Antonio Areia’s penalty.
After Victor Iturriza reduced Aalborg’s lead to two, Magnus Saugsttup stepped up to hammer the ball home for the final time , before Areia shot high and wide from the right wing with the last shot of the game.
We are very happy and satisfied. We were not that happy with the game in Porto and knew we had to get more speed in the game. We had a lot of trouble with their goalkeeper but luckily we kept on going and believed in ourselves.