Barcelona stunned by brilliant AtléticoArticle
«Go back

Great performance by Hombrados, Balić and Cañellas in the first leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-finals

Barcelona stunned by brilliant Atlético

Jose Javier Hombrados showed a spectacular performance with 42 per cent saving efficiency as BM Atlético Madrid stole the show in the first leg of VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-finals against FC Barcelona Intersport and won 25:20. The second leg will be played next Saturday in Palau Blaugrana, Barcelona.

Saturday’s match was one of those where only a few would not dare to bet any money on the winner beforehand. And only a few would have guessed Atlético Madrid could win by a clear difference.

After a very respectful start of the match where both teams seemed not to want to wake up the other too much (4-4 after 10 minutes), Atlético scored a 3-0 to lead 7-4, to which Barcelona responded with another 4-0. Another 3 goals from Madrid forced Xavi Pascual to ask for a time-out. Then things settled down as the first part ended with a single goal advantage for the Dujshebaev team.

At the beginning of the second half Atlético seemed to be more focused on the court. At least they were managing to withstand Barcelona’s attacks, led by Rutenka, who seemed to be the only one with scoring possibilities. Atlético showed then a consistency they lacked at different stages this season and that was building very slowly a very promising four goals difference well into the last 9 minutes of the match, thanks to Hombrados and Joan Cañellas.

Barcelona then blacked out. Nothing worked out and the difference then grew to an astonishing 6 goals (23-17) that forced Barcelona’s coach to ask for his last timeout with more than 5 minutes to go. With only one goal in the previous 10 minutes, Barcelona needed to do the impossible…

But the Madrid team was not willing to concede what it had been an enormous amount of physical effort displayed. And two penalties saved by Hombrados in the last minutes denied any possibility to do so.

When the final whistle was blown, the 11,267 spectators roared in ecstasy. Not only had their team beaten Barcelona for the first time in the season, but also put Barcelona under fierce pressure to try to turn this Quarter-final around and qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

But still the answer to this will have to wait for another 7 days…

TEXT: Francisco Miranda / br