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Barça Intersport against Valladolid at the Palau Blaugrana /PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

FC Barcelona Intersport will face one of the most challenging weeks of the season today. Sandwiched in between the tie against Montpelier, the Azulgranas will play at 20:30 (Sportmania), in week 22 of the Asobal League against Cuarto Rayas BM Valladolid.

How Barça’s coming into the match

The Azulgranas come into the match against Valladolid after losing 30 to 28 against Montpelier in the away leg of the Champions League quarter-final. With the return leg scheduled for this weekend, Barça will face one of the League’s most difficult and powerful teams tonight, Cuatro Rayas.

With the continental tournament on hold until after tonight’s match, the men led by Xavi Pascual aspire to take the victory that will help them maintain their perfect record; 21 victories out of 21 matches. This record has allowed Barça to claim the top of the table, currently two points ahead of Atlético Madrid.

The Valladolid court is one of the most difficult arenas that Barça have played on throughout the Club’s history. In Barça’s 19 visits to Valladolid, the handball team have won 10 times, drawn twice and lost seven.

The rival

Cuatro Rayas currently sits in third position in the Asobal table. They fight to win one of the three spots that directly qualify for the Champions League next season. Only Atlético Madrid have been able to win on Valladolid’s court this season.

Trained by Juan Carlos Pastor, the Valladolid side are a compact and talented team. In goal they have the ex-Barça man and current starter of the Spanish national team, José Maunel Sierra.

Among the top 20 goal scorers of the Asobal League, there are four Valladolid players. Two wingers, Joli (114 goals and 2nd highest goal scorer) and Nickcevic (100 goals and 7th highest goal scorer). Angel Romero and Davor Cutura, with 87 goals, are in 15th and 16th, respectively.

Three matches, three victories

Barça Intersport and Cuatro Rayas BM Valladolid have played against each other three times this season. The first was in the first half of the Asobal season at the Palau. The Azulgranas won by 32 to 23. In the semi-finals of the Cup, Barça won by 32 to 26.

The last match played between the two sides was in the semi-finals of the King’s Cup, Pascual’s men won by 28 to 26.

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