Strong Motor, stronger Barça
Ivan Maroz, who had arrived from SKA Minsk before the season, was the hero for Motor Zaporozhye - but even the 16 saves of the new goalkeeper had not been enough on Thursday night to cause a sensation against the favourites from Barça in the first ever duel of both sides.
Motor showed a strong performance, but mainly in the first 20 minutes of the second half, Barça were stronger.
HC Motor (UKR) vs Barça (ESP) 25:30 (11:13)
- Barça wing Aleix Gomez scored ten goals from eleven attempts to be the top scorer of this opener.
- The opening goal was the only time Motor were in the lead, with the closest gap in the second half being two goals at the beginning.
- Barça’s biggest advantage was eight goals at 28:20
- Motor goalkeeper Ivan Maroz saved 16 shots, while his Barça counterpart Gonzalo Perez de Vargas made 12 saves.
- Next week, Barça will host Celje, while Motor travel to Aalborg.
Barça end their opening curse
Three times in a row - from 2017 until 2019 - Barça did not win their opening match in the EHF Champions League - on Thursday, they ended the curse in Ukraine. In the 2017/18 season, they tied at Rhein-Neckar Löwen in their first group match, one year later, they lost at the same German opponent 34:35, and in September 2019 they were defeated 28:31 at Pick Szeged in Hungary in their opener. The last victory in an opening match for Barça was the 28:23 at Orlen Wisla Plock in 2016.
I want to congratulate our team on the victory, we earned two points. The match was very difficult and interesting, but in the end we won. We have a good start to the season, but the year is long and you shouldn't relax. Therefore, we will continue to fight and try to improve our game.