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EHF Champions League

Another win for Barça; another loss for Zagreb

EHF / Björn Pazen

Barça’s hunger for success had not been stilled: The group B match in Zagreb on Thursday night saw their 11th victory in their 11th group phase match this season – but this time, the Croatian record champions were not hit as hard as in the mutual first leg (27:45).

With the result, Zagreb still wait for their first point of this season, while Barça remain seven points ahead of second-ranked side Veszprém.   

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs Barça (ESP) 33:37 (18:21) 

  • it was the 24th victory for Barça in the 25th match against Zagreb 
  • Zagreb were ahead until the score of 7:6, then Barça changed the momentum with their high-speed attack, taking the score to 16:10 in minute 21. But the hosts fought back and, in contrast to the half-time score in the first leg (24:13 in favour of Barça), the first 30 minutes in Zagreb ended quite equal (18:21)
  • 13 Barça players were on the scorer list before the break (including goalkeeper Kevin Möller). The final figure was 14, with Ludovic Fabregas, Aitor Arino and Blaz Janc all scoring five times
  • Twice – at 23:23 and 24:24 – Zagreb levelled the score after the break, before Barça finally decided the encounter at 33:28 eight minutes before the end
  • Zagreb will play their next match on Sunday – their third within six days. Sola's side will host HBC Nantes

Zagreb’s talent pool shows its ambitions 

The young guns Filip Vistorop and Nikola Grahovac (both 22 years old) shone for the hosts, with four goals each before the break. Ultimately, they combined for 11 goals (six for Grahovac and five for Vistorop). The two belong to the huge pool of top talents in the squad of coach Vlado Sola. Looking at their top stars David Mandic (23) and Matej Hrstic (24), the future looks good for Zagreb – despite the current group ranking.

This was basically a duel between David and Goliath – we were well aware of that. Despite of that, we've delivered our best on both sides of the court. Our main focus was to be quick and organized in transition and we were doing that well in the opening 10 minutes of the encounter. I'd like to congratulate Barca on the win in the end, but also to my guys – we've once again shown character and commitment and that's what makes me happy and optimistic despite of the eventual defeat.
Vlado Sola
Zagreb coach

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