THE BALL – Champions League: sensational Benfica wins in Catalonia (Basketball)

In a game in which they commanded the score since the 4th minute of the opening quarter, Benfica went to Catalonia to break Manresa’s invincibility in Group F of the Champions League by winning at Pavelló Nou Congost by a sensational 92-82 (17-27, 16- 21, 27-21, 22-23) in the match of the 4th round, which only does not put the eagles in command of the poule due to the defeat by 19 points suffered in Luz against the Spaniards (78-97).

Despite maintaining the 2nd place in the group, the men led by Norberto Alves took an important step towards reaching the second stage of the competition in which they are the first Portuguese club to have qualified, as the last two meetings that will decide everything to see who follows the play-in between the 2nd and 3rd places of each pool will be played at Pavilhão da Luz: against the Latvians from VEF Riga (6 Dec.) and against the French from Limoge (20 Dec.)

With 17 of his 23 points converted until the break (33-48), Aaron Broussard (4 res, 3 ass), registered 4/8 in shots of three, was one of the main figures of Lisbon, which throughout the 1st part bothered the home team with the speed of the game in the transitions and the success of the outside launch that allowed them to go to the locker room with eight triples, four in each period.

In the 2nd half, Manresa’s defensive pressure, especially the two against one on the ball carrier, led the national champions to commit more mistakes, poor launch and pass options and attempts at finalizations in individual actions, however the formation of the Spanish league ACB never managed to reduce the difference below 6 points, the last one at 80-86 at 1.33m from the final whistle after two free throws by Dani Garcia (11 pts, 3 res).

On the opposite side João Gomes (7 pts, 7 res) extended the advantage in the same way and then Ivan Almeida (13 pts, 9 res, 3 ass) and Gomes in attacks on the basket ensured that the victory was guaranteed.

A success for which baseman Toney Douglas (17 pts, 4 res, 7 ass), with 5 points in the 4th period, Makram Romdhame (8 pts, 4 res, 2 ass) and even pole Terrell Carter (9 pts , 4 res), who committed too many unnecessary fouls and came out with the 5th 3.34m from the final whistle (76-82), also proved to be important.

Jerrick Harding (18 pts, 4 ass) and Jordan Caroline (11 pts, 4 res) were other of the best scorers of the locals who, during the 2nd quarter, lost by 16 (23-39) after a triple shot of José Barbosa (7).