by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
On Friday 8th February, competing on home soil, Sporting Portugal suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Spain’s Cajasur Priego TM but having won the first leg 3-1, on aggregate they progressed.
“You can never predict what will happen in any match in table tennis whether you are playing at home or away. If you are good form, you can win any match anywhere. However when the match was at 2-1, we were sure that we had qualified for the last four of the competition. The main priority for us in the match was to secure our qualification to the semi-final stage.” Quadri Aruna
Meanwhile, with Omar Assar resigned to the bench, on Thursday 7th February Borussia Düsseldorf selecting Timo Boll, Kristian Karlsson and Anton Källberg repeated the 3-1 one score-line against K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki, who fielded the trio of Pavel Sirucek, Kaii Yoshida and Marek Badowski.
Notably for Omar Assar, he has emulated the achievements of Quadri Aruna and Bode Abiodun; last year they were members of the Sporting squad that reached the European Champions League semi-finals.
Now for Borussia Düsseldorf the Russian club TTSC UMMC awaits, Fan Bo, Andrej Gacina and Alexander Shibaev being the principal members, for Sporting Portugal it is Hennebont, the French club includes Liam Pitchford, Cédric Nuytinck and Fan Sheng Peng in the fold.
“It is going to be a tough match considering the quality of players in the French team. We will not give them too much respect as we will be aiming to make it to the final.” Quadri Aruna
Similar to the quarter-finals, in both event, fixtures will be conducted on a two leg, home and away basis.