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Barça have started the Champions League 2023/24 on a splendid footing with a win at the home of one the European giants Montpellier (25-30). Carlos Ortega¡s were keen not to make the same mistakes that led to a draw with Bidasoa in the league, with defensive intensity very much the key to today's stellar performance.
Indeed, Barça were clearly hell-bent on recovering their dented morale are the unexpected setback at the weekend.
Dika Mem was in explosive form with 7 of his team's first 14 goals, with the Catalans already 5 clear at the break. Montpellier would cut that deficit down to two in the second half, but Barça made sure there was no coming back for their French hosts. Emil Nielsen was simply imperial as a replacement in goal for Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, who was absent for family reasons.
🔒 Nielsen en mode bèstia tota la nit.pic.twitter.com/Bsqiqg5vy0— Barça Handbol (@FCBhandbol) September 13, 2023
Young Ian Barrufet and Petar Cikusa both went out in the second half and demonstrated an astonishing level of maturity as Barça completed a win that sends out a strong message to the rest of Europe.
Montpeller: Desbonnet (0), Heseham (5), Pellas (2), Lenne (1), Skube (1), Porte (2), Karlsson (3), Villeminot (2), Panic (0), Konan (0), Dubois (2), Guigon (0), Monte dos Santos (4), Berthier (1), Nacinovic (2) & Bolzinger (0).
Barça: Nielsen (0), Aleix Gómez (6), Dika Mem (8), Petrus (0), Frade (3), N'Guessan (3), Wanne (0), Pol Valera (0), Carlsbogard (1), Gallego (0), Janc (2), Richardson (0), Barrufet (2), Cikusa (4), Javi Rodríguez (1) & Saric (0).
Periods: 1-3, 4-4, 6-6, 7-10, 10-13, 11-16 / HT / 14-17, 16-19, 17-21, 19-25, 21-28, 25-30.
Referees: Vaidas Mazeika & Mindaugas Gatelis.