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27.12.2008 19:37

To the final (26-23)

Meritxell Infante

Thanks to 26-23 win over Ciudad Real, Barça Borges are through to the final of the Asobal Cup in the Palau Blaugrana. The Barça players, coached by Manolo Cadenas, seized control of the game with a combination of intelligent and forceful play.

It was the moment to take revenge for the home league defeat against Ciudad Real and the semi-final of the Asobal Cup was the perfect opportunity. Manolo Cadenas’ men swept to victory in a much more closely fought game than the previous encounter. Barça played with confidence and dominated without losing their nerve in the mostly hotly disputed moments of the game. The victory was marked by plenty of rotation on the Barça bench with the prospect of the first final in five years – and what’s more played at home – very much in mind.

Iker Romero, with a right knee problem, was ruled out at the last moment together with Losert and Putics. The team worked hard and proved more effective from six metres, especially Ugalde and Rocas, and Hansen made it three out of three from the seven metre mark.

Moments of indecision

fcbborges-ciudadr_x4x.jpgIn the first half neither team was able take hold of the game. Losses of the ball and tentative shots on goal kept the score low despite the potential of the two sides. Barça took a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes but from the 6th to the 13th minute the play lacked precision and both teams struggled to score, due in part to the performances of Barrufet and Sterbik in goal. Ciudad Real finally broke the negative pattern in the 13th minute and drew level.

Ugalde breaks deadlock

Just when it seemed that neither team could take control of the game, Barça Borges made the breakthrough on the counterattack. Three goals from Cristian Ugalde and one from Tomás helped Barça to a 4-1 run before the break to leave Barça with a 13-10 advantage on the scoreboard. The two home-grown players made their claim for a place in the final of a competition they have never won and Ugalde was Barça’s top scorer with five goals.

The fans take a hand

fcbborges-ciudadr_x2x.jpgCiudad Real came back after the break determined to stay in the game but proved incapable of surprising the Barça players, who took a maximum four –goal lead three minutes into the second half (16-12). Despite the pressure on the officials and the protests - Hansen had to retake a penalty that had already been given – the Barça players kept their concentration and remained focussed on the match. The fans in the Palau got behind the players in the second half and helped push the team to consolidate their lead on the scoreboard.

Steady in the closing minutes

Jerome Fernández was Ciudad Real's main danger with five goals in the second half but even so they were unable to cut Barça’s lead to less than two goals. Steffanson made it 25-23 with just three minutes remaining but Barça held on until a final goal from Rocas sealed the Barça win.
To the final (26-23)

FC Barcelona Borges: Barrufet, Noddesbo (3), Juanín (1), Lozano (2), Ben Amor (2), Nagy (2), Rocas (4) –starting seven-, Kasper, Tomás (1), Ugalde (5), Jernemyr, Boldsen, Hansen (5).

BM Ciudad Real: Sterbik, Kallman (1), Abalo (3), Metlicic (3), Entrerríos, Morros, Dinart –starting seven-, Hombrados, Torsten Laen (1), Jerome (5), Steffanson (6), Davis, Chema (1), Rutenka (3).

Scores every five minutes: 4-2, 4-3, 5-4, 7-6, 9-9, 13-10 (halftime); 16-12, 18-15, 21-17, 23-20, 24-22, 26-23.

Officials: Martín Franco and Monroy Rodríguez

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