FC Barcelona Lassa were simply outstanding in front of 7,083 spectators inside a buzzing Palau Blaugrana on Saturday afternoon as they turned around the two-goal deficit from the first leg in Germany to defeat Kiel in the EHF Champions League quarter final and match triumphantly into the Final Four in Cologne on June 3 and 4.
Including president Josep Maria Bartomeu, this was actually the biggest attendance for a handball match at Barça since records have been kept of the numbers passing through the turtnstiles.
Goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas was a superstar in goal, while Valero Rivera led the way in offence with seven goals as the Catalans took the game 23-18 to reach the showpiece end-of-season event for the sixth time in just eight seasons.
Kiel’s two-goal head start had already been cancelled out by the time it was 9-6, and it was Barça who had the two-goal lead on aggregate at 11-7.
European champions in 2015 for the ninth time, Barça are seeking to become the first club to collect ten continental titles.
And their place in the Final Four seemed secure enough as the game progressed, with the difference hovering between four and five goals until there were just three minutes on the clock.
At 21-18, Kiel suddenly had an opening. Noddesbo came to the rescue, and following a crucial save from Pérez de Vargas, Rivera added another and that was game over and Cologne here we come!