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31.05.2009, 21:43
Sensational Ciudad
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The Spanish champions win the CL title again after a 33:27 in the second leg of the Final against THW Kiel.
 

Sensational Ciudad

They danced through the Arena Don Quijote, they clenched their fist as the winners – and they went crazy when they received the huge Champions League trophy on the podium: Ciudad Real won the CL title for the third time after 2006 and 2008. In a highly emotional and tense second leg of the final against THW Kiel, the Spanish champion won 33:27 (13:14), after they had lost in Kiel 34:39.

Kiel seemed to be in the saddle for much of the gameThe most incredible fact is that Kiel were still in the lead by 20:16 after 39 minutes and then the match changed completely. Even as Ciudad had won the title, the best player on court was THW goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer who saved 22 shots in total.

On the other, hand it was a demonstration of team spirit and the will to win that brought the title to the team of Talant Dujshebaev. For him it’s the fourth CL title (three as coach, one as player).

The most disappointed man on the court was THW captain Stefan Lövgren, who played his last international match of his outstanding career and who was so close to his second CL title. Nikola Karabatic and Vid Kavticnik most likely played their last international match before leaving the team.

Top scorer of the game, Olafur Stefansson, was understandably in a different mood as he won his fourth CL title (third with Ciudad, one with Magdeburg), before changing to the German club Rhein Neckar Löwen.

Omeyer was outstanding in the first half. Including two penalties he saved 16 shots. Thanks to the goalkeeper, Kiel was in lead 14:13 at the break, what meant a complete difference of six goals including the first leg. Ciudad missed too many chances against a strong Kiel defence, but aside THW lost the rhythm after 20 minutes in offence, as they had problems on the right back position. Filip Jicha, who scored nine times in the first leg, didn’t shoot a goal in the first 30 minutes (after 60 minutes only one).  As Omeyer was unbeatable, Ciudad Real would have badly needed their injured player Ales Pajovic, still they could not come closer than one goal after Kiel were already away by three goals (12:9).

Ciudad turned the game with few minutes from the endAnd after break nothing seemed to change. Kiel played cleverly, stayed in the lead – and Omeyer saved important shots. As the Germans increased the gap to 20:16 in the 39th minute, everything looked perfect for Kiel leading in total by nine goals.

But after that everything changed completely. Hombrados saved some shots, Kiel had no ideas in offence and Ciudad players found the holes in the THW defence and overran the Germans by counter attacks.

It took eight minutes and four consecutive goals for Ciudad Real to equalise for the first time (20:20), and it took one more minute for the Spanish champion to take the lead at 22:21.

The hall went crazy, the enthusiastic spectators pushed their team to the limit and with every second Ciudad Real improved. Kiel had no more power and lacked concentration. Ciudad brought Sterbik back and the THW players failed against him like Ciudad failed earlier against Omeyer.

A series of 10:3 goals within 11 minutes Ciudad turned the match – led by Sterbik and right winger Luc Abalo. As Chema Rodriguez made it 26:23, the faces of the THW players turned pale like last season. The Spaniards only needed a five goal difference as they scored 34 goals in Kiel. And after two counter attacks of Källman the gap was four goals (30:26), and then Sterbik saved two important shots.

Kiel were unable to renew themselves, they lacked energy and they felt that they missed the title again, even before Abalo scored the 32:27. At this point the fans could already celebarte.

As top scorer Olafur Stefansson (eight goals today) hit the net for the 33:27 just 48 seconds before the end, it was clear that they won the title.  For Didier Dinart, Luc Abalo and Jerome Fernandez this Champions League title menas the end of a perfect season: they started with an Olympic title, continued with a World Championship gold medal and lifted the CL trophy at the end.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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