Gates wide open for Barca, Zagreb and KoperArticle
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Croats and Slovenians consolidate second ranks in their group, whilst Catalans only need one more point from four matches to reach Last 16.

»EHF CL Channel »2011-12 Men's News

 Gates wide open for Barca, Zagreb and Koper

Group A of the VELUX EHF Champions League saw a decisive Saturday: The sixth victory of FC Barcelona Intersport (against Sarajevo) was no surprise, whilst Zagreb increased the gap to Chambery to four points by their second win. Cimos Koper in group C is close to the Last 16, too.

Group A:

FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) vs. HC Bosna Gas Sarajevo (BIH) 37:19 (20:10)

One week after their biggest ever international victory at Sarajevo (43:17), FC Barcelona Intersport again had not any problems with their opponent. Another 18 goal margin shows the dominance of the defending champions which extended their series to six victories from six matches.  From the last four matches the Catalans only need one single point to qualify for the Last 16.

On the other hand the Bosnian still have to wait for their first point in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League.  Barca coach Xavi Pascual could rotate a lot in this game and gave the international debut to youngster goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales.

After the first half was already decisive with a ten goals gap, Pascual gave playing time to all his players. After the break David Balaguer imprinted the game, as he scored all his four goals in the second half. Top scorers were Garcia (Barcelona), Mejdic and Vrzallik (Bosna) with each five goals.

RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. Chambery Savoie (FRA) 28:20 (14:7)

It was a pre-decision for the rest of this season: After their close 28:26 away victory last Sunday, Zagreb have beaten their major contender Chambery again even more clearly – and extended the gap in the ranking to four points now – with only four matches ahead.

In certain constellations the Croats can already secure the Last 16 next weekend with a victory in Sarajevo.  Chambery again had to replace their injured top star Xavier Barachet.

Thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Sego, Zagreb managed to start with a 6:2 and even extended the margin to seven goals at the break, as David Spiler scored with the final whistle. And in the second half the host even improved, as Chambery lacked ideas in attack, as they could not break the Croatian wall. In the final stage the margin had risen to ten goals (24:14) intermediately, as the game had been decided earlier.

Top scorers were Horvat (six goals for Zagreb) and Basic (five goals for Chambery) - VELUX EHF Champions League’s top scorer, Chambery’s Croat Damir Bicanic, only hit the back of the net once.

Group C:

Cimos Koper (SLO) vs. HC St. Petersburg (RUS) 30:23 (13:10)

Cimos Koper can already bring the sparkling wine to the freezer: After their second clear win over St.  Petersburg they paved the way to the Last 16 with eight points on their account – and with four matches ahead the distance to the fifth place and their Russian opponent is already five points.

The match was no handball deli, but after some problems at the start, the Slovenian champions took control of the game, turned the match right before the break, when St. Petersburg player Shindin received a direct red card.

In the second half Cimos Koper extended the margin easily to nine goals and the game had been decided.  Top scorer was Milorad Krivokapic with nine goals for Koper.

Statements after the match:

Dmitry Torgowanow (coach St. Petersburg):  Koper have an excellent team, and they have great opportunities now to reach the second place in the group. My team still hope to proceed for the Last 16.

Fredi Radojkovic (coach Koper): We played really well in defence, as we conceded only 23 goals. We tried different combinations in attack as we have a terrible hard program ahead. The gate to the Last 16 is widely open now.

TEXT: Björn Pazen