At the half, Barça ahead by two / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB

Sunday, third and final game in the group stage / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB

Barça Alusport is close to its first showing in the European Final Four. This Friday, in the second game of the Elite Round, Barça cruised to victory over CF Eindhoven, the Dutch champion. With its second victory on the trot, Barça now has six points and sits atop its group with one game in hand. The Blaugrana players started their match against Eindhoven knowing full well that Era Pack had beaten Araz (4-3), Barça’s main rival in the group, and a victory would all buy guarantee the top spot. Barça needed ten minutes to score their first goal, but after that the goals flowed more freely, until Barça put the game beyond reach with their fourth. The Palau was ecstatic.

This Sunday (17.00 h), in the final game of the group stage against Araz from Azerbaijan, Marc Carmona’s men would only need a draw - depending on the other group match, even defeat - to seal their spot in the Final Four.

Good Dutch defensive organization

Both teams got off to a slow start this Thursday. Barça Alusport found that CF Eindhoven’s defence was well prepared for their offensive play. In fact, it was the Dutch that had the first three chances to go ahead, all borne from counterattacks led by Bali, the Dutch side’s most potent and versatile player. It wasn’t until the 11th minute that Barça was able to break down the Dutch defence and score, thanks to a good collective play that Gabriel finished.

2-0 at the half

Before Barça’s goal, and after, Carmona was urging his players for patience on offence, to take their time in choosing the correct play. Being a goal up seemed to have a liberating effect on the Barça players as they settled in, determined to add to their tally. And the chances came, two shots bounced off the cross bar and Javi Rodríguez had an amazing chance before Barça scored their second goal. It was Saad, three minutes from the break, that doubled Barça’s lead.

Party and goals in the Palau

The home side didn’t seem to be missing the injured players, Fernandao or Igor, in the second half. With long possession plays, it looked as though Barça Alusport was the fresher team on the court. The Dutch side was tiring and Barça was had chance after chance to score the third. It finally came through a missile of a shot from Torras, who also assisted in the final goal when he laid the ball off for Lin with ten minutes to go.

With three points secured, and like what happened in the game against Era Pack this past Thursday, Carmona subbed in two players from the B side, Tolrá and Roger. Both of them helped their team furiously pursue the fifth goal, but to no avail. Final score 4-0, much to the delight of the Palau Blaugrana.

MATCH STATS

Barça Alusport, 4
CF Eindhoven, 0

Barça Alusport: Sedano, Gabriel, Lozano, Javi Rodríguez, Torras (cinc inicial), Wilde, Saad, Ari, Lin, Tolrà and Roger

CF Eindhoven: Grimmelius, Allouch, Saadouni, Bali, Zouthane (cinc inicial), Mnimako, Lagouireh, Kiliç, Erens and de Kramer

Goals: 1-0, Gabriel (min 11); 2-0, Saad (min 17); 3-0, Torras (min 25); 4-0, Lin (min 29)

Referee: Eduardo Fernandes Coelho (POR)