Barça Alusport, Liga champions / PHOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

FC Barcelona Alusport are champions of the Liga for the second consecutive year. The Azulgranas were made to work for the title on one of the most complicated and difficult courts of the Spanish League, where the public plays an enormous role in the outcomes of games. Finally, and after playing overtime, the title tipped in favour of Javi Rodríguez’ side. The captain of the Azulgrana team said farewell to his teammates in the best possible way... this year the captain has lifted four trophies: the Spanish Cup, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Futsal Cup and now, the Liga.

Intense first half

There was a lot in play on the Palacio de los Deportes court and it was more than evident in the first 20 minutes of the match, where neither side played to their strengths. The chances, however, were had at both ends of the court, but neither Barça Alusport nor ElPozo Murcia were able to take the initiative or set the pace of the match. The first clear chance fell to the Murcianos when Esquerdinha’s shot narrowly skipped wide of the right post of Cristian’s goal. Marc Carmona’s men were struggling to carve out chances at the start but little by little they plugged into the match. First it was Saad and then it was Fernandao that attempted to open the scoring. The Azulgranas kept at it, and with Sergio Lozano and Jordi Torras on the court they chances started to flow.

Paco Sedano saves a penalty

Barça Alusport could smell the first goal, but Rafa was almost impenetrable in the ElPozo goal. The home-side keeper saved shots form Torra and Fernandao. On 9 minutes the first polemic play of the game happened when Gabriel anticipated Álex’s move and deflected the ball, the ElPozo player, however went crashing to the ground in the area. Penalty for the home team. It was Paco Sedano’s moment. The keeper came off the bench and he didn’t fail. Sedano correctly guessed the direction of Esquerdinha's shot and sent the ball out of bounds. The Azulgranas needed to take advantage of the situation but a minute and a half later ElPozo took the lead. De Bali was on the end of a strategic play and he sent his shot sailing into the back of Cristian’s net (min. 12)

Javi Rodríguez to the rescue

The tension on the court was rising, but when Barça Alusport were up against the ropes Rodríguez stepped up. The captain rescued the Azulgranas with a goal after a good assist from Saad with five minutes remaining in the first half. Carmona’s men could have taken the lead through a double penalty with 46 seconds left but Lozano’s shot went wide.

Lozano takes Barça Alusport to overtime

If Barça Alusport wanted to be champions they had to overcome a dangerous rival that had thousands of cheering fans urging them on. The Azulgranas showed enough patience to take the game where it needed to go. However, Esquerdinha, on 25 minutes, skipped past Saad and scored the 2-1. The Azulgranas reacted brilliantly and Rodríguez’ brought Barça level seconds later.

The nervousness on both sides was becoming more obvious as time ticked off the clock and the tension erupted when the referees called an very controversial foul by Rodríguez on Kike after the ElPozo player hit the ground. It was the second penalty of the night for ElPozo, and Miguelín made sure to bury the ball in the back of the net. There was time to fight back and with 5 minutes and 10 seconds left, Carmona sent out a keeper-player. With four minutes to go, Lozano brought Barça level once again. The game was headed to overtime.

Five minutes worthy of champions

In overtime, the Azulgranas killed the game off very quickly. Barely a minute had elapsed when Lozano scored from the double penalty spot. Barça Alusport had the lead and Duda was forced to send out a keeper-player. Barça took advantage of the situation thanks to a clever Wilde. The Azulgrana scored two goals in the ensuing four minutes to clinch the title for the Catalans. Barça Alusport have claimed their second consecutive Liga title.

MATCH STATS

ElPozo Murcia, 3
FCB Alusport, 6

ElPozo Murcia: Rafa, Kike, De Bail, Esquerdinha, Grello -starting five-Saúl, Álex, Miguelín, Dani Salgado, Adri, Bebe.

FCB Alusport: Cristian, Gabriel, Wilde, Saad, Lin -starting five- Fernandao, Lozano, Ari Santos, Jordi Torras, Paco Sedano, Javi Rodríguez.

Goals: 1-0, De Bail (12 '); 1-1, Javi Rodríguez (15'); 2-1 Esquerdinha (25 '); 2-2, Javi Rodríguez (25'); 3-2, Miguel (27 '); 3-3, Lozano (36'); 3-4, Lozano (41 '); 34-5. Wilde (43'); 3-6, Wilde (44')

Referees: Gracia Marin and Gutiérrez Lumbreras