by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Huge home support Quadri Aruna faced Wei Shihao in the opening contest, trailing two games to one, it appeared a recovery was on the cards. In the fourth game he established a 7-3 lead but was unable to capitalise. He won just two more points, Wei Shihao prevailed (11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9).
However it was to be the only success for the French visitors. João Monteiro beat Chen Tian Yuan (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8) before Diogo Carvalho for Brice Olivier (11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9) to give Sporting the lead.
Sporting ahead, Quadri Aruna concluded matters by beating Chen Tian Yuan in three straight games (14-12, 11-9, 11-7).
“I think the support we have been given in every match has been our advantage; particularly the pep talk from captain Monteiro was very inspiring. When I lost the first match, I was really down but when Monteiro and Diogo won their matches, I was really motivated. Before the fourth match, our captain told me that I can do it and these words were always in my mind during the match. My opponent, Chen Tian Yuan, beat me three-nil when I was playing in the French League last season and this was what gave them the confidence that he could repeat same feat again. The support from my team coupled with the fans backing were the tonics I needed to silent the Chinese.” Quadri Aruna
The second leg will be played at the Stella Sport La Romagne club on Friday 9th February.