Taubate hope to end ‘quarter-final curse’
27 Aug. 2019
Competition at the 2019 IHF Men’s Super Globe heats up on Wednesday August 27, as eight teams take the court for the quarter-finals. Two sides have already opened their Super Globe campaign, in the qualification stage on Tuesday, which brought them to this stage. Six other teams will make their debut in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday – and for one club there is a chance to make some special history.
Feature match: Al Wehda (KSA) vs Taubate (BRA)
Dammam Sports Hall, 12:15 local time
In five Super Globe participations, Taubate have never managed to make it out of the quarter-final stage. Their best ranking was achieved in 2018, when the Brazilian side ranked fifth, following three sixth-place finishes and one seventh.
In 2019, Taubate bring far greater Super Globe experience, in comparison with their opponent, into the quarter-final. Saudi side Al Wehda are completely new to the competition, though they have a solid domestic season behind them, having returned to the top of the podium in all their national competitions – the league, the Cup and the Elite championship.
“We seek to offer all our honour and honour the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and provide a technical level befitting the reach of Saudi handball,” said Al Wehda goalkeeper Mohammed Salem prior to the Super Globe. “We will face Taubate of Brazil – the champion of the South and Central American Clubs Championship. The handball in Brazil is highly developed. We will try to go for the advanced positions at the expense of an unfamiliar team for us.”
Taubate arrive in Dammam as regional champions, having added that title to five Pan American Championship trophies. Coach Marcus Oliveira is confident this is the year his team can finally reach the penultimate stage.
“Our goal is to play the semi-finals of the world,” said Oliveira. “We have a young but strong team that dreams of making history in the competition. We have a good defensive system that aims to control the depth of our opponent’s game and is based on intercepting balls and creating counter-attack possibilities.”
Will it be enough for Taubate to break the ‘quarter-final curse’?
Defending champions Barça start quest to retain trophy
After Taubate and Al Wehda open the quarter-finals, Egyptian team Zamalek will take the court to meet THW Kiel, who defeated Sydney Uni in their qualification match on Tuesday. It was a commanding victory for Kiel, who lived up to their role as the clear favourites in that encounter.
The German club will undoubtedly face more of a challenge against Zamalek, who reached the Super Globe as winners of the Africa Men’s Super Handball Cup play-off. The match will throw off at 14:30 local time in Dammam.
Current title holders Barça will start their quest to reclaim the trophy at 17:20 local time, when they play Qatari team Al Duhail. As semi-finalists in the last Champions League season, and record trophy winners at the IHF Super Globe, Barça will be a strong challenge for the debutants.
The quarter-finals will wrap up with current Champions League title holders Vardar playing Saudi side Al Mudhar, who defeated New York City decisively in the second quarter-final qualification match on Tuesday night. Considering the currently hold the most competitive club title in the world, Vardar are a clear contender for the title in Saudi Arabia. Can Al Mudhar surprise them? The last quarter-final begins at 20:00 local time.