First win on the road to Cologne. Barça won the first leg of the quarterfinal against Flensburg (29-33). A superb first half and management of the German team's push in the second mean Ortega's men bring a four goal advantage back to the Palau Blaugrana. A very effective Ben Ali top scored, but the defence worked very hard to earn the win.
Outstanding is the way to describe Barça's start in the Flens Arena. With Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas making the stops and an effective attack, the early lead was 1-5. The German side came back into the game but Barça kept their lead with good rearguard action. 13-18 the half-time score.
Barça continued to keep the scoreboard ticking along, ensuring they remained ahead of the German side after the break. Ben Ali was the attacking outlet, but the defence was continuing to frustrate Flensburg. This combination created the biggest lead of the game of +7.
Flensburg never gave up, however, and the final part of the game was a tighter affair. The fans in the Flens Arena urged their team on, but Richardson and Ben Ali gave Barça some breathing space when needed.
Final score 29-33, and a Barça win to ensure a good start to this EHF Champions League quarterfinal, with the deciding return leg in the Palau Blaugrana (Thursday May 19, 6.45pm CEST).
Flensburg: Kevin Møller (-), Jakobsen (9), Gottfridsson (2), Golla (5), Mensah Larsen (1), Svan (4) y Hald Jensen (-) - starters - Buric (-), Einarsson (3) and Søgard Johannessen (5)
Barça: Pérez de Vargas (-), Mem (6), N'Guessan (2), Ben Ali (8), Cindric (2), Aleix Gómez (5), Ángel Fernández (2) - starters - Maciel (-), Petrus (-), Ali Zein (-), Janc (2), Langaro (1), Richardson (3), Makuc (1) and Ariño (1)
Partial scores: 1-5; 3-9; 4-10; 7-14; 10-15; 13-18 // 15-20; 17-24; 21-25; 24-27; 26-31; 29-33
Referees: Vaclav Horacek and Jiri Novotny