T&T’s Marc-Anthony Honore lifted his first piece of silverware with SL Benfica for the 2021 season when they came from behind to beat Sporting CP in five sets in the Portugal Volleyball Federation Super Cup earlier this month.
Playing at the Municipal Pavilion of Santo Tirso, Benfica triumped 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 30-32, 15-12.
The win marked the tenth occasions that Benfica had emerged victorious in the Super Cup and the fourth in succession as well.
With this triumph, the ‘Eagles’ as Benfica are known widened the gap in the titles to Castêlo da Maia and Sporting Espinho, who have won the Super Cup five times.
It was quite an intense encounter, which lasted for two hours and 39 minutes and in which Sporting did their best to stay alive for as long as possible.
The Lisbon side was on verge of losing the match in four sets as it came back from 19-23 to earn the tie-break.
But, the team captained by the 39-year-old Hugo Gaspar was a shade less nervous in the fifth set to capture the crown.
In addition chasing titles domestically, Honore, now in his 13th season as a professional player having had stints in Brazil and Germany as well, and his Benfica team mates, winners of the past two league titles and ninth overall in club history will also compete in the 2021/2022 European Volleyball Champions League (CEV) qualifiers.
On the domestic front, Benfica has enjoyed a 2-0 start to their title defence in the Men's A-1 Division with wins over Clube K, 25-12, 25-17, 25-10 on Saturday, followed by a five-sets win over AJF Bastardo 14-25, 27-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12 a day later.
Despite their 2-0 record, Benfica is fifth on the 14-club table with five points, level with Vioria and Castelo Maia who have both played a match more.
At the top of the standings are the quartet of Esmoriz, SC Espinho, Sporting CP and AJF Bastardo, all with seven points each, and one more than fifth-placed AA Espinho
However, the quartet have all played three matches while AA Espinho, like Benfica have played two matches each.
Today, Honore and his club mates will turn their attention to Europe when they host Bigbank Tartu of the Estonian Baltic Volleyball League in the second-leg of their Champions League Round One qualifier ahead of their clash with SC Espinho on Saturday.
When both clubs met in the first-leg in Estonia on October 6, Benfica rallied for a 26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16 win.
The Benfica squad were automatic qualifiers to the First Round of the qualifiers while Tartu swept Switzerland’s Lindaren Volley Amriswil, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 in the first-leg before a 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 15-10 road loss to take the tie, 5-2 on aggregate.
The winner of the Benfica/Tartu series will face the winner of home-and-away series between Finland’s Vammalan Lentopallo (Valepa) and Holland’s Draisma .
VaLePa already has one-hand in the match against Benfica after they won the first-leg 16-25, 25-21, 19-25, 30-28, 21-19, also on October 6 with the second-leg scheduled for Wednesday, October 13 as well.