MADRID, 1 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The absolute Spanish table tennis team debuted in the group stage of the European Championship, which is held in the city of Baza in Granada, with a defeat against the Croatian team (1-3) in a packed Ángela Ortiz de Vegas Pavilion at the Genil, with more than 400 spectators.
With a totally renewed team, Spain was able to stand up to one of the European powers. In the first duel, the Croatian number one Andrej Gacina, world number 27, beat Marc Gutiérrez 1-3. However, Miguel Ángel Pantoja began the second duel against Filip Zeljko very seriously. The Spaniard took the lead with two consecutive games (12-10, 11-8) and managed to stay in the match, despite the good work of his rival, who was closing the gap from the third game. Finally, the point fell on the Spanish side, making it 1-1.
Thus, Croatia came out with everything to try to close the duel between the two teams. Tomislav Pucar took the lead with two games (11-4, 11-8) against Carlos Caballero, who reacted on time and leveled the match with two consecutive sets (13-11, 11-7). However, the Croatian managed to close the match at 11-7 in the fifth game.
In the fourth game, Filip Zeljko sealed the duel between Spaniards and Croatians, beating Francisco Miguel Ruiz 3-0 (11-9, 11-9 and 11-1). The Spanish team will return to the competition next Wednesday, December 7 (7:00 p.m.) against Austria, in the match corresponding to the second match of the group stage of the European Championship in Baza.