[[DES_1]]Cologne was witness to a brilliant match of handball this afternoon as the two Champions League semi-finalists pushed each other to the limit. FC Barcelona Intersport made their intentions clear that they will only settle for the title this season, and that determination allowed the Blaugrana to overcome a very combative Kielce side.
Good start for Barça
Rutenka and Víctor Tomás put Barça ahead by two goals in the first five minutes of the match. On defence, Barça were also firing on all cylinders. Viran Morros did well to lead Barça’s defence and Sterbik saved a penalty in the opening minutes.
Xavi Pascual’s men took advantage of their solid defence to mount their trademark devastating counterattacks. In fact, after the first 10 minutes, Kielce had only scored two goals. But the Poles weren’t going to go out without a fight, and that's when Manuel Strlek led his team to a 3-0 run.
The machinery stutters
The Polish onslaught, however, didn’t shake Barça Intersport off its stride. The Blaugrana quickly reestablished their two-goal lead. The exchange on blows was constant until the end of the first half, and Barça went to the break with the advantage (10-13).
Sterbik thwarts the comeback
The second half saw Kielce roar back into the match with a two-goal run. If it hand’t been for Arpad Sterbik, who saved a penalty and then saved two very clear chances, the Poles would have claimed the lead.
Barça struggled to find open shots at the start of the second half, and the errors and possession losses allowed Kielce to achieve parity on the scoreboard (17-17).
Blaugrana al vent
With Kielce’s defence covering on Siarhei Rutenka, the Blaugrana rerouted their attack through Juanín García, who score two consecutive goals. Pascual and his men managed to then grab a three-goal lead (19-22) as the clock started ticking down to full time.
Finally, FC Barcelona Intersport clinched a spot in the final when they soared to a 28 to 23 lead. The Blaugrana have just one more step to take to be European champions. The final is scheduled to start at 18.00 on Sunday.