Nigeria’s duo of Aruna Quadri and Bode Abiodun will be facing the biggest battle of their career this season as they lead their Portuguese club – Sporting into the second leg semifinal of the ETTU Cup against star-studded French side – GV Hennebont.
However, it was the end of the road for Edem Offiong and Jamiu Azeez yesterday at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open after the duo lost their second and third matches to miss out from progressing to the knockout stage of the singles event of the championship.
In the ETTU Cup semifinal, Quadri and Abiodun will be aiming to emulate Germany’s Saarbrücken, who turned the tide against K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo in their away second leg on Wednesday to edge out the Polish side from beating them to the final spot.
Just like Sporting, Saarbrücken lost their first leg at home to the Polish side but they changed the fortune for the home team with a convincing win to berth in the final where they will be awaiting the winner between Sporting and Hennebont.
Already, the French team has an edge over Sporting after beating Quadri and teammates 3-2 in Lisbon on March 7 while today in front of their home fans, the French side led by Englishman, Liam Pitchford will be aiming for total dominance to beat the Portuguese side to the final slot.
The first leg was single-handedly delivered to the French side by the informed Englishman – Pitchford who had to defeat Quadri and Diogo Carvalho to claim two wins while the deciding match involving Carvalho and Belgian Cedric Nuytinck turned out to be the undoing for Quadri and his team as the Portuguese international squandered a 2-0 lead to surrender the win to the Belgian at 2-3 to give the visiting French side a 3-2 first leg win.
Today, it promises to be exciting as both sides are aiming for a place in the final after missing out from the ETTU Champions League and hoping to use the ETTU to pacify their fans.