Classic draw at high noonArticle
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BLOG: Arguably the best game of the season so far saw two title contenders play out a dramatic draw and our ehfTV commentator was there to enjoy it

Classic draw at high noon

Anyone with half a brain can see that there has been a revolution in philosophy of handball at KIF Kolding Kobenhavn.

Kristjanson has taken the bedrock that was the defence of this team and instilled a counter attacking mentality. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times they counter attacked last year, yet in this game they did it at every available opportunity. Let's not use the excuse of returning players as the reason; in fact Jorgensen looked like a new man so eager was he to counter at every chance.

Whereas Kolding is significantly strengthened by the likes of Andersson and Irming, Barca is conversely significantly weakened by the departure of Sterbik. 

The game started at a good clip for both teams, with Barcelona's attack clicking into gear much earlier than that of their counterparts. Kolding to their credit clung on in there. But the coach will not have been happy at the room afforded to the line player at the centre block and when that was shored up Barca moved the ball wide and their wingers finished the job.

Hvidt was having no luck in goal and his substitution in favour of Cleverly brought about an instant dividend. Albeit they went to the half-time break two goals down, Kolding were growing in confidence.

It could have been one at the very start of the second half, but Saric pulled off a tremendous save. Barca's well-oiled attack continued to move through the years and they extended their lead, punishing any suspensions of the Danes.

But Kolding delight to fish in troubled waters and they edged their defence up a notch. And as Barcelona started to creak in the attack, some of Kolding's players started to creak physically. Irming went off with a knee problem and Kim looked to have done his ankle. But in defence they punished any attempt the Catalans made to breakthrough.

It has long been held that Barca haven't got the level of competition to match these moments of difficulty. Their attack faltered, going almost seven minutes without scoring. The question was would Barca have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? The answer was no, but not for the above reasons.

Unable to find the gaps through team play, Karabatic tried in vain to find an elusive goal. At times the defending against him bordered on the wrong side of physicality, yet no substantive action was taken. And two attacker fouls called against Gudjon and first Victor Tomas could have gone the other way. 

But take nothing away from the Kolding team. They played with a sense of abandon that was joyous to behold. Two quick counters from Cleverly to Dolk narrowed the arrears. 

When the calls went their way, they took full advantage. With twenty seconds to go, Entrerrios can count himself very unlucky to have given away a penalty. And with a Parthian shot Dolk equalised with an outrageous and sublime broken wrist shot. 

The game ended all square. These two teams have to be considered two of the best teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League. It's too early to say whether either can be legitimately thought of as a favourite for the title.  What Barcelona has in class, Kolding match in character. Many teams might have crumbled in the face of what is a superb attack. Individual class and team play from both teams meant that even the strength of both defences was breached time and again.

The game was motion and emotion. It was a never ending sway of to and fro. The crowd added to what was a classic, with their constant barrage of noise the deafened the ear drums at times. We were privileged to watch a drawn game, an edge of the seat thriller in which all that is good, nay great, about handball was on show. 

Told you it was like the Wild West at high noon.

A great draw!!!!

TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator