Aruna Quadri made his final outing for Sporting Lisbon by leading the team to a 37th title in the final of the Portuguese national league on Sunday.
It was the club’s fifth straight national title and the feat was achieved with a 3-0 victory over GD Toledos in the 2nd leg of the final at the High Performance Center of Vila Nova de Gaia.
Sporting had also triumphed by the same scoreline in the first leg on Saturday, 4 July.
Africa’s top-ranked player was playing his final match for the Portuguese side ahead of his move to German Bundesliga side TC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell where he will play next season.
Quadri who joined Sporting CP in 2016 from GD Toledos was the cynosure of all eyes as fans and players hailed the Nigerian for his immense contribution to the team.
Sporting retained their title by going the entire season of 18 matches unbeaten, dropping only five sets en route to attain 70 points, 22 more than second-placed GD Toledos.
A delighted Quadri described Portugal as a home away from home but said his move to Germany was necessitated by a need for a new challenge.
“After ten years in Portugal, it was time to leave for a championship with another level. I was very happy here, Portugal for me is almost the same as Nigeria and I will continue to live in Portugal because I have a family here. I will train a few times at Sporting for the year,” Quadri said.
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On facing his former club in his final match, Quadri said: “It was a very difficult game particularly against my former team and mate, Diogo Silva, who is a player with a lot of talent. We played together for four years and it is always difficult to play against him.”
Quadri’s compatriot and teammate Bode Abiodun admitted that it was a difficult match having returned to the game after several weeks of inactivity.
“It was a very difficult game, but I am very satisfied with the victory and with another title, which was the main objective of the season.”
Sporting coach Chen CP Shao was full of praise for his players.
“This Championship final was complicated, with a long stop and now without the public at the stands. The players managed to show some quality, despite having been out for four months.”
President of Portugal Table Tennis Federation, Pedro Miguel Moura said it was a big achievement for the federation to be able to conclude the season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sporting CP 3 – 0 GD Toledos
Aruna Quadri, 3 – 2 Énio Mendes, (11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-3)
Diogo Carvalho, 3 – 1 Diogo Silva, (13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7)
Bode Abiodun, 3 – 1 Boboye Oyenyan, (11-8, 11-4, 10-12, 11-6)
GD Toledos 0 – 3 Sporting CP
Énio Mendes, 1 – 3 Diogo Carvalho (3-11, 3-11, 11-5, 5-11)
Diogo Silva, 1 – 3 Aruna Quadri (11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 3-11)
Boboye Oyenyan, 0 – 3 Bode Abiodun (8-11, 5-11, 8-11)