Sporting CP wins the WSE Champions League after beating UD Oliveirense/Simoldes 2-1 in a great hockey match

Sporting CP won its fourth WSE Champions League in rink hockey this Sunday, beating UD Oliveirense 2-1 in the final of the WSE Champions League F4 by Azemad. Pavilhão Rosa Mota, with more than three thousand in the stands, witnessed an emotional game, with both teams providing spectacle until the last second. Sporting came out on top and took home the trophy.

Sporting is the new winner of the WSE Champions League after winning the 59th edition of the Europe’s biggest club competition. The WSE Champions League cup goes to the Sporting Museum after an emotional match, played to the last second by two teams that never gave up and left everything on the pitch. Nolito and João Souto scored for the lions, while Lucas Martínez was the only one to beat Ângelo Girão, Sporting’s goalkeeper. In a game of strategy, the lions were the stronger side and made the difference.

In a final that many dream of reaching, but where only Sporting CP and UD Oliveirense/Simoldes have made it, the initial pace was one of caution, with both teams settling in and showing an attitude of expectation.

The lions were the first to take a chance and they capitalised immediately. A great individual move from Nolito, beating Xano Edo, who didn’t see the ball go in. There were no more goals in the first half, largely because Sporting CP were very cohesive in defence, rarely getting caught in defensive transitions, which kept the danger away from Ângelo Girão’s goal.

There was a lot of balance in the first half, with UD Oliveirense forced to take more chances towards the end of the first 25 minutes, but the Lions didn’t suffer any major scares.

At a disadvantage, Edo Bosch’s men knew they had to take risks in the second half and that’s what they did, coming on stronger, more aggressively, taking the danger to Girão’s area. But Sporting defended well. 

Until a quick transition forced Matías Platero to foul Diogo Abreu. From the direct free kick, Lucas Martínez didn’t miss and celebrated, tying the score and sending the fans into a frenzy in a Pavilhão Rosa Mota with a full capacity and a great atmosphere for both teams.

The tie didn’t last long, and two minutes later Sporting CP went in front again, also from a direct free kick by João Souto. Lucas Martínez had a chance to equalise again after the lions’ 10th foul, but this time he missed the direct free kick: Girão made a great save to keep the lions in front going into the final stretch. 

UD Oliveirense pressed on, played the last minute without a goalkeeper, but the score remained unchanged. The trophy went to Sporting CP, who won their fourth cup in this competition.

Sporting thus added another European title to the ten they already had in their bag: four European Cups, two WSE Cups, two continental cups and three Cup Winners’ Cups.

To reach this final, Sporting came second in their group, behind Benfica and ahead of Calafell and Reus, eliminated FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals and left FC Porto by the wayside in the semi-finals.

In 59 editions of the WSE Champions League, 12 different teams have won the competition. FC Barcelona have lifted the European Cup 22 times and as such are the competition’s greatest winners.

Coaches’ statements:

Alejandro Dominguez, Sporting CP coach

“I want to say that you’ve been in Oliveirense’s shoes many times in the past. They’re a great team, they’ve done a great job and they deserve our recognition. I’m very grateful to Sporting, to the coaching staff, who work very hard, and to the players, to whom I’ll be eternally grateful. This is a special team, with a special spirit. What I’ve experienced at this club on a human level is unrepeatable. I’m very happy that Sporting can enjoy this title, because all Sporting fans deserve it. Regarding the game, there weren’t many differences between the teams, I told my players that, that we were in a final and finals are about winning. We always believed we could get here and we did it, leaving some great opponents in our wake. I’m relieved because I didn’t want to leave without this kind of joy.”

Edo Bosch, coach of UD Oliveirense/Simoldes

“Congratulations to Sporting, it was a great final. At times we were on top, at others we were down, I told the players at the end that if they were lifting the trophy it was deserved, we lacked that little star that is also needed in these games. This team has been working together for nine months and has played against teams that have been together for several years, so they have to be proud of what they’ve done. Now we have to bounce back, it’s not easy to lose a final, but my players are great professionals and we still have the league ahead of us, we have a say in the upcoming playoff.”

Player’s statements:

João Souto, Sporting CP player

“I’ve won two Champions League finals, but before that I’d lost two other finals at UD Oliveirense, which is also a huge club. Today we won, it was a fair victory, but this club also deserves a European title for what it does for Portuguese and European hockey. It’s been an immense pleasure, especially as the last year has been extremely tough, we’ve lost two finals, we knew that our coach was leaving us for personal reasons and we really wanted to win this title, to give him this trophy for the excellent work he’s done with us. We’d also like to thank the fans who were tireless in this beautiful stadium, thank you for everything, we’re European champions.”

Marc Torra, UD Desportiva Oliveirense/Simoldes player

“Congratulations to Sporting, they were champions because they scored one more goal than us. We knew that these games are decided on details… but it’s hard to say. We had high hopes of winning this cup, we deserved to win it, it didn’t work out like that, we have to recover and look to the future as we have been doing. We’d like to thank the fans for their support, we wanted to give them this joy, but that’s sport.”

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