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29.09.2018, 19:40
Barça show no mercy, Vardar draw first blood against Veszprém
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GROUP A REVIEW: Barça Lassa demolished IFK Kristianstad in the Match of the Week, while Vardar won their first match against Veszprém
 

Barça show no mercy, Vardar draw first blood against Veszprém

Barça Lassa enjoyed one of their brightest offensive displays of their 281 matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League, roaring past Kristianstad in a lopsided Match of the Week.

Despite a bright start, Kristianstad ultimately had no answer against the Spanish champions and suffered their worst ever loss in the European top competition.

Meanwhile for the fifth year in a row, Vardar start the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase with a three-game winning streak.

The Macedonian powerhouse disposed of Montpellier and Kristianstad in the first two games, but those wins were not as impressive as taking Veszprém’s scalp in their own arena, where they only lost one game from the past 13. This was Vardar's first win against Veszprém in seven games. 

  • Barça's 44 goals were the most ever conceded by Kristianstad in a Champions League game
  • Dika Mem, Aitor Arino and Jure Dolenec were Barça’s best scorers, with six goals each
  • Mem was also named Player of the Match, presented this week by Cashback World
  • Veszprém had their second consecutive loss after losing to Barcelona last week
  • Timur Dibirov was Vardar’s top scorer, with six goals

GROUP A

MOTW
IFK Kristianstad (SWE) vs Barça Lassa (ESP) 25:44 (14:19)

It took Barça more than four minutes to score their first goal of the game, with early attacking woes plaguing the Spanish champions. But a pair of fast breaks, coming after steals in defence, took the guests to a 7:4 lead, with wings Aleix Gomez Abello and Casper Mortensen leading the charge.

Rising to the special occasion, Kristianstad came back and even took the lead, 11:10, with Norwegian right back Stig Tore Moen Olsen in superb form, scoring five goals in the first 20 minutes.

Yet Barça were still the dominant force in the game. Amping up their defence, the Spanish champions recorded a 6:0 unanswered run that sealed the deal and created their path to the second consecutive win of the season. Another 4:0 run for Barça to throw off the second half signalled what was going to happen in the last 30 minutes of the game.

Not only the Spanish side earned their fifth consecutive win against Kristianstad, they also handed the Swedish champions their worst ever defeat.

With right back Dika Mem, the Player of the Match, presented by Cashback World, and Spanish left wing Aitor Arino in flawless shooting form, Barça were unstoppable in attack, producing their best display of the season.

"We played good handball the first 30 minutes, but the second half was just awful," said IFK player Philip Henningsson. "We made technical errors, had a bad attitude and no will, but you have to give it to Barca - they played amazing handball in the second half."

Lassa coach Xavi Pascual was more to-the-point: "We are very pleased with this match - the team played very well," he said.

The 44:25 win was the biggest this season for any team in the VELUX EHF Champions League, while also being one of the biggest ever recorded by Barça Lassa in their 281 games played in the competition.

The Spanish side will face Montpellier next week, while Kristianstad try to draw first blood against Vive Kielce.

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 25:27 (11:13)

Vardar arrived in Veszprém brimming with confidence after conceding only 49 goals in the first two games. However they were facing a team that had won 12 of their last 13 games in their stronghold, and had the support of an extremely vocal stadium behind them.

It was Vardar's amazing defensive effort to throw off the game that saw the former VELUX EHF Champions League winners power to a 7:4 lead, with Vuko Borozan continuing his excellent form to record easy goals.

Borozan, alongside Timur Dibirov and Dainis Kristopans, were unstoppable in the first half, scoring for fun in positional play or fast breaks. That took Vardar to an 11:6 lead, with the vocal Veszprém fans scratching their heads as the Hungarian side had no answer for Roberto Garcia Parrondo’s men.

With former Vardar goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik starting to pick up the pace, Veszprém beefed up their defence and even took the lead thanks to a 9:2 run which saw the guests only scoring twice between the 22nd and the 36th minute.

The lack of clarity forced coach Roberto Garcia Parrondo to take a time-out which worked wonders and the Macedonian side took back the lead with 15 minutes to go.

After another two changes in the lead, it was Vardar who looked more determined and focused in defence. Brazilian line player Rogerio Ferreira Moraes scored two of his three goals in the last five minutes and led Vardar to a 27:25 win, their first ever in seven games against Veszprém. 

The victory means the Macedonian side is still unbeaten and top of the group after three rounds.

Veszprém right back Lazlo Nagy said Vardar had played a "smart match", adding: "They were very well prepared. They had good situations during the attacks and we were not able to stop them.

"We also missed a lot of clear shots against the goalkeeper too," Nagy said. "I am very sad and disappointed. In the last 10 minutes we were not able to complete successful attacks."

Garcia Parrondo said his team had delivered on his demands.

"We have many injured players and we do not have a long bench like we had last year," he said. "Players who had problems gave all today. This is what I ask from them and they deliver."


TEXT: Adrian Costieu/jh
 
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