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EHF Champions League

Barça end away drought in Bucharest

EHF / Björn Pazen

Prior to their round 11 game against C.S Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania, Barça's only victory in an away match in the EHF Champions League Men 2021/22 season came in their opener at Flensburg (25:21). Since then, the defending champions had lost twice and drawn twice.

On Thursday night, Carlos Ortega's team ended this drought with a 35:30 victory against the Romanian side coached by Xavi Pascual, Barça's former coach. However, the hosts were a tougher nut to crack than expected, mainly due to their perfectly organised defence, and they only trailed by one goal with four minutes remaining.

GROUP B
C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Barça (ESP) 30:35 (15:17)

  • backed by five goals from Brazilian right back Haniel Langaro, Barça were ahead throughout the first half, but the gap was only four goals once – 6:10 – as Dinamo were perfectly adapted to the attacking style of the defending champions
  • sensationally, Dinamo’s Algerian goalkeeper Khalifa Ghedbane won the duel between the posts against EHF EURO silver medallist Gonzalo Perez de Vargas. Ghedbane's nine saves, including eight saves in the first half, were the basis for the hosts' strong defensive performance
  • the biggest margin after the break was five goals. After Barça took a 28:23 lead, Dinamo reduced the gap to one goal, 29:30, but they could not take the lead and were finally beaten when Timothy N’Guessan gave Barça a 34:29 advantage 
  • thanks to this victory, Barça have passed PSG and Veszprém in the table and are now second with 14 points – but PSG have played one match less as their away game against HC Motor was postponed
  • although Bucharest remain in eighth place, they are still only three points behind fifth-placed SG Flensburg-Handewitt

A special night for Xavi Pascual

In June 2021, Xavi Pascual steered Barça to their ninth EHF Champions League trophy as they beat Aalborg by the biggest margin in a final in Cologne. This was his farewell match after coaching the record Champions League winners to three titles since 2009.

Some weeks later, he continued his coaching career at Dinamo Bucuresti and brought Barça players Cedric Sorhaindo, Eduardo Gurbindo and Alex Pascual to the Romanian capital. In Pascual's return to Barcelona, Dinamo produced a strong showing, losing only 36:32. On home ground, the Romanian champions were again close to causing a sensational upset but ultimately failed again.

20220217 MCL Dinamo Barca Carlos Ortega Quote
Dinamo played well in this match. We had problems in defence when they played with the pivot. Also, there were some problems with the goalkeepers, but the team showed character and in the end made the difference and won. It is a very important victory for us, obtained in difficult conditions, because Dinamo were strong in defence.
Carlos Ortega
Coach, Barça
20220217 MCL Dinamo Barca Xavi Pascual Quote
Barca deserved to win, but I don't think we deserved to lose by so many goals. My team fought until the end of the match, and I have nothing to say to the players. Unfortunately, there were some easy errors at the beginning of the game that cost us. The players must move on and show the same dedication in the next match.
Xavier Pascual
Coach, C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti

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