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30.04.2008 22:29

Beaten in the second half (29-24)

Verònica Díez

Barça have lost to Ciudad Real 29-24, but made an extraordinary effort to prevent Ciudad Real from becoming Liga Asobal champions. The second half proved decisive.

There was no lack of strength, attitude or desire from the players managed by Manolo Cadenas. The Catalan side was still in contention until the sixth minute of the second half. But a five-goal streak from Ciudad Real sealed the game, as tiredness started hitting the Barça ranks. Demetrio Lozano was sent off, while Rubén Garabaya hurt his leg in the first half, and that did not help affairs in the long run. Barça miss out on the handball title with their heads held high against a worthy winner in Ciudad Real.

Great stuff from Barça

FC Barcelona dominated the early stages, Nagy opening the scoring. Playing a 6-0 defence that the home side found so difficult to break down, Barça were also outpacing their opponents in attack, with their speedy offensive line proving too much time and again for the Ciudad Real backs.

In the eighth minute, Demetrio Lozano was sent off after an incident with Petar Metlicic, and that hit the visitors badly. Barça sought to increase their lead while they were still on top of the game, and Iker Romero and Albert Rocas responded well to keep them ahead. A penalty save from Kasper Hvidt proved decisive, whereupon Romero, Víctor Tomás and Ugalde all scored to leave Barça leading by three at the break, 12-15.

Continued superiority

Barça were still the better side as the second half got under way, but when Ciudad Real pushed their defence up, that superiority diminished. Laszlo Nagy was sensational. The Hungarian played almost the whole game and was a continued presence both in attack and defence.

The fifth minute of the half changed everything. FC Barcelona had gone 13-18 after a Nagy goal, but David Davis was coming into his own in the CR defence, tightly marking Iker Romero out of much of the game. As the clock ticked by, Ciudad Real were getting more and more into the swing of things.

Uríos on song

One of Ciudad Real’s main protagonists was Rolando Uríos. The Cuban made it 14-18, and that was the start of a five-goal streak that swung the game around. Juanín García and Kasper Hvidt were the players holding things together for a floundering Barça, and it was the former who scored to halt the Ciudad Real streak, making it 18-19 after ten minutes. Then Uríos equalised, and it was back to where we had started.

Change of roles

Kasper Hvid saved Barça on two spectacular occasions, but Stefansson finally made it 21-20 (min.15), and the nerves set into the Catalan outfit. Talan Duishebaiev’s side seemed to sense that and banged home three goals to zero reply to make it 25-22. Though three goals adrift of Ciudad Real, FC Barcelona weren’t going to give in that easily, but Romero, Jesper Noddesbo and Laszlo Nagy were all fighting tiredness, and Jonas Larholm could not carry the sinking ship alone.

Ciudad Real had played a tactical game, bringing on the most dangerous players late in the game and taking advantage of the tiredness in the Barça ranks. Rutenka pounced to make it 29-24, and that was game over.
Beaten in the second half (29-24)
Ciudad Real (12+17): Sterbik, Stefansson (7), Roberto García (2), Uríos (4), Rutenka (3), A. Entrerríos (3) and Davis (1), starting five, Virán Morros (2), Masachs (-), Dinart (-), Kallman (5), Metlicic (2) and Zorman (-),

FC Barcelona (15+10): Kasper; Noddesbo (4), Juanín García (5), Lozano (-), Nagy (4), Rocas (3, 2p) and Xepkin (-), starting seven, Víctor Tomás (1), Ugalde (1),Iker Romero (5), Garabaya (-), Larholm (2) and Jerome Fernández (-).

Partials: (2-5), (4-5), (6-7), (8-9), (10-12), (12-15) -half-time- (13-18), (18-18), (20-20), (23-22), (26-23), (29-25).

Referees: Muro San José and Rodríguez Murcia.

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