FC Barcelona Lassa – Montpellier HB: Win to stay in control in Europe (23-31)
Xavi Pascual's team celebrate their 400th game in Europe with a win in the south of France
For Barça Lassa handball boss Xavi Pascual this was the most important game of the season and his team responded with a champions’ performance. After their 31-23 win in the Champions League over Montpellier, the blaugranes are firmly on control as leaders of their group. Lazarov with nine goals and Saric with a dominant display in goal were the heroes of the hour in the south of France.
A good start saw Barça race into a 4-1 lead after just three minutes. The visitors’ dominance was such that HB coach Patrice Canayer made a change in goal after just 10 minutes, bringing on Siffert to replace number one Gerard. That seemed to light up the French side with Montpellier leveling things up at 5-5.
Barça regained control before the break and at one point in the half lead 13-8. Nevertheless, the hosts fought back again and at half time they cut the Catalans’ lead to 15-11.
Montpellier had two men sin binned early in the second half but Barça failed to take advantage. Dragan Gajic kept the home side in the game scoring seven goals. But even his efforts were not enough as Lazarov in attack and Saric in defence steered the blaugranes towards a winning lead. After 40 minutes Barça lead 22-17 and when HB attempted to repeat the trick of the first half by changing keepers, its failure to work signified the end for the home team. The final score was 31-23 to Xavi Pascual’s team a victory in their 400th game in Europe and their first ever win in Montpellier.