UD Oliveirense’s strategy overcame OC Barcelos and is in the WSE Champions League final

Second semi-final, second great hockey match at the Pavilhão Rosa Mota. UD Oliveirense/Simoldes were stronger in a match that went into extra time, with everything open until the end and only decided on penalties. Edo Bosch’s team is through to the grand final, which will be played this Sunday at 3pm.

The finalists for the WSE Champions League Final Four by Azemad 2023/24 are in: UD Oliveirense/Simoldes join Sporting CP to decide who will be the next European roller hockey champion this afternoon at 3pm. 

After a thrilling first semi-final, Óquei Clube de Barcelos, SAD and UD Oliveirense/Simoldes didn’t want to be outdone and also put on a great show on the rink, attracting the fans who once again turned out in large numbers. The best hockey in the world was at the Rosa Mota Pavilion this Saturday, opening up excellent prospects for a great final this Sunday. 

The game started with UD Oliveirense/Simoldes being very aggressive and surprising the team from Barcelos. The first goal came from Marc Torra. The captain of the men from Oliveira de Azeméis shot low (3′) and celebrated. But the Barcelos team didn’t let up, they played good hockey and three minutes later they equalised through Miguel Rocha. 

The game became more cautious, with the teams trying to close down well and not make mistakes. But in a great team move, Oliveirense took the lead again. Facundo Navarro finished off a move in which Marc Torra and Diogo Abreu put the Argentinian through on goal. 

Nobody let their heads drop and from a direct free kick, the captain of Óquei Clube de Barcelos, SAD equalised again (2-2): he missed his shot, but the rebound beat Xano Edo. 

The second half began at a slower pace, with the teams more closed in. It wasn’t until the 30th minute that Facundo Navarro got the ball rolling. He scored twice in the match following a great individual move. 

At a disadvantage, Barcelos took control of the game, more intense and faster. But Oliveirense defended well and believed. Even more so when Alvarinho, in the 43rd minute, missed a direct free kick. On the other side, Lucas Martínez couldn’t do any better either with a free kick against Conti Acevedo.

Barcelos took their chances, pressurised as the half drew to a close and were able to capitalise on this in a well taken move by Poka in the 46th minute. All tied up again at 3-3. And so it went at the end of the 50 minutes. 

In the ten minutes of extra time, the teams didn’t want to take any risks, they kept to themselves and only half-hearted shots stirred up the crowd, but the result didn’t change. 

The decision went to penalties and Barcelos only scored once, Oliveira de Azeméis twice, the last time through Marc Torra, who celebrated with his fans.

Coaches’ statements:

Rui Neto, coach of Óquei Clube de Barcelos

“It was an even game, in certain periods Oliveirense were better, in others it was us… but we were always behind in extra time and in the penalties the more effective team won. Anyone who plays sport has to realise that this is the way things are, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, we’re sad, but we’ll hold our heads high.”

Edo Bosch, coach of UD Oliveirense/Simoldes

“I feel very proud, any team could have won, it was a great game for both teams and we had the star. Congratulations to Barcelos because they also played a great game. We won and we’re very happy to reach the final. It’ll be my third final in a row, I’ve never won, I hope it’s this one. We’re probably the best defending team, we like to assume that and we deserve to be in the final.”

Player statements:

Luís Querido, Óquei Clube de Barcelos player

“It’s a difficult moment to digest, we’re devastated. It was a great game of hockey, unfortunately we were always chasing the deficit, we did a lot, we managed and deserved to equalise, go to extra time and penalties, but in the end Oliveirense were more competent. Congratulations to them. Now we have to recover emotionally, it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough because we’re very sad for ourselves and for the fans, who haven’t tired of pulling for us… This is Barcelos!”

Xano Edo, UD Oliveirense/Simoldes player

“It was a game of details, penalties could have gone either way, we’re to be congratulated. Defending well is the result of a lot of study under a lot of pressure, you need luck because it’s the details that decide whether the game goes one way or the other.”

Marc Torra, UD Oliveirense/Simoldes player

“I’m very happy for myself and my team-mates. We had a great and very clear ambition to reach the final and I think we did very well against a spectacular rival. Now we’re going to enjoy and prepare well for the final because we want to win it.”

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