Barça ends TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 on a high
They might have lost on the court against Barça this afternoon (31:37), but in the stands, Paris and their fans certainly won the heart of the Lanxess Arena. Even when their players were down by eight in the first half, the PSG supporters did not stop chanting, leading the sold-out crowd in an impressive singalong.
On the court, the game was a much more complicated business for Paris, as the French team was down by eight goals after just 15 minutes played. Barça never released the pressure, using every opportunity to score fastbreaks and still increase their advantage.
The second half was not enough for them to turn things around, as Gonzalo Perez de Vargas destroyed their last hopes, saving 21 shots to secure the third place for Barça.
THIRD PLACE MATCH
- both coaches adopted the same strategy, putting on the court some players that had not had the opportunity to play on Saturday, such as Sadou N’Tanzi for Paris or Jonathan Carlsbogard for Barça
- the Spanish side really seemed to have recovered from the semi-final defeat, as it took an eight-goal lead after just 12 minutes played
- led by their wingers, who scored a combined 11 in the first half alone, Barça cruised throughout the first half to lead by nine at half-time
- never were Paris able to cut down their deficit to less than five goals, despite N’Tanzi netting seven times
- this is the first time that Paris lost the third place match in five participations
- in the second half, Aleix Gómez became the all-time top scorer at the EHF FINAL4, scoring four to reach a total of 70, passing Kiril Lazarov and Mikkel Hansen along the way
Barça will go on holidays with a smile on their face
There is not much to win in a placement match. But a bad performance and a defeat is the last thing you want before going on holidays at the end of a long season. Barça made the most to avoid it. Maybe it is the experience, but their players were allow to digest yesterday’s disappointment to bounce back. And even without stalwarts like Dika Mem or Luka Cindric, the youngsters showed they wanted to leave Cologne on a high note and with the bronze medal around their neck.
Photo: EHF / kolektiff
Antonio Carlos Ortega, Barça coach: "The match was really difficult to play because yesterday’s game was really tough for us. We had a conversation in the evening and also this morning. And this club and this team showed how things should be done: try to compete and be at its best. I’m proud of the players because the team won even though it was broken. It is difficult to explain, we did not lose any game in regular time but we are third in the Champions League. The team had an amazing season. We lost the only way we could lose, which means fighting all game long, going to extra-time and leaving the court with our heads high.”
Raul Gonzalez, Paris Saint-Germain Handball coach: "We played with a lot of intensity and a lot of pressure yesterday and also today. Everybody was really tired, everybody knows we had difficulties. Luc Steins was tired, Elohim Prandi had problems with his hand, and it got a little bit too much. Clearly, in the first twenty minutes, Barça were better than us."