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27.03.2010 19:28

Half way through to semis (26-33)

Verònica Díez

FC Barcelona are half way to a spot in the Champions League semi finals after seeing off Osiguranje Zagreb in Croatia 26 - 33. The return leg is set for next week at the Palau.

Xavi Pascual’s team put in a serious, focussed performance that never gave their hosts a look in, despite the presence of the competition’s leading scorer Lazarov and their world class star Balic. The win virtually assures a semi final spot, only an unlikely defeat of 7 goals or more would see them fail to progress.

Psyched up

Barca were clearly psyched up for this game against a team they knew to be a serious contender for the title and a perfect 6-0 defence constantly in movement to cut off any attacks, combined with a brilliant Saric who notched up 16 saves in the first in the first half and some efficient shooting took them into an early 0-4 lead. Zagreb didn’t score until 6 minutes into the game and they were always chasing the game. Their 3-2-1 formation just wasn’t working and when their attack could get into a good position, they found themselves up against the inspired Saric.

After Dani Sarmiento and Víctor Tomàs had stretched Barca’s lead they went in with a comfortable 12-17 lead at the break.

Fightback brushed aside

Barca continued where they had left off in the second half. Again totally focussed on their game and seemingly in complete control, they were surprised by a mini fightback from their hosts who drew themselves back to 17-20, then 22-24. That little come back just served to motivate Barca though, who inspired by Juanín García and Rutenka chalked up 7 goals to open an 8 point gap (23-31 and finish the game off worthy 26-33 winners.
Half way through to semis (26-33)

Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (12+14):
Skof (Sego); Lazarov (6), Gojun (1), Strlek (3), Horvat (1), Vukic (-), Tonci Valcic (3), Balic (2), Gal (5), Dzomba (5, 4p) and Kopljar (-).

FC Barcelona Borges (17+16): Saric (Barrufet), Juanín (8, 3p), Víctor Tomás (8), Nagy (3), Jernemyr (-), Boldsen (-), Noddesbo (2), Sarmiento (3), Iker Romero (2), Igropulo (3), Oneto (-), Hansen (3), Rutenka (1), Rocas (-) and Ugalde (-).

Break scores: 0-4, 3-6, 4-9, 6-13, 10-15, 12-17; 16-20, 19-22, 22-24, 23-27, 23-31, 26-33.

Referees: P. Brunovsky (SVK) and V. Canda (SVK).

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