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Photo: Javier Quintana / Asobal

Barça Alusport claimed its spot in the final of the Asobal Cup, which will be played in León, after beating Cuarto Rayas in the semi-final. Even though the final result was 32-26, it was wasn’t easy for Barça. Despite having a comfortable lead at halftime, Cuarto Rayas trailed Barça by just one goal in the second half. It wasn’t until Daniel Saric, with a fantastic performance, led Barça on a 7-2 run, that the Catalans clinched their spot in the final.

Commanding from the start

Effective exterior shots and ball recuperation (which allowed for counterattacks), gave Barça a dominant lead at the start (5-2, min 6). The game was being played at a high rhythm and with touches of brilliance. Cuatro Rayas Valladolid managed to find good shooting positions and fired away at Sjostrand, Saric’s substitute. Cuarto Rayas, therefore, brought the game back to even terms in the first half (7-7). Moments later, the keeper Sierra was responsible for Barça running away in the first half’s scoreline (12-9, min 21).

The European reigning champions’ defence was becoming more solid, with a fantastic Jernemyr. On offence, Barça kept on pounding away. Rutenka has no mercy and the distance between the two sides grew to 18-14 at the half.

Balance in the second half

An on fire Raúl Entrerríos came out onto the court in the second half. The Serbian, Nipcevic, maintained his team’s hopes of reaching the final against a Barça that had one less man on offence (20-18, min 35). Valladolid came within one goal of catching Barça during the more trying moments of the match for Pascual’s men (21-20, min 39).

Beyond reach with 10 minutes to go

The Barça manager introduced Saric and Nagy, both of whom took charge. Despite the substitutions, Cuatro Rayas was accurate on offence, which allowed them to stay close to their opponents. Barça’s keeper made a monumental save to keep the visiting team at a two goal difference (26-24, min 50). It was key. From that point on, the Catalans broke free and ran up the score 32-26 at the end. The final, this Thursday.

MATCH STATS

FC BARCELONA, 32
CUATRO RAYAS VALLADOLID,  26

FC Barcelona Intersport (18+14): Sjostrand (Saric); Rocas (4, 1 p), Nagy (6), Entrerríos (7), Aguirrezabalaga (2), Sorhaindo (2), Ugalde (2), Virán Morros (-), Jermenyr (-), Rutenka (4, 1 p), Sarmiento (2), Igropulo (3), Juanín García (-), Balaguer (-).

Cuatro Rayas Valladolid (14+12): Sierra (Lamariano); Ávila (-), Krivokapic (5), Cutura (4), Asier Antonio (-), Gurbindo (7), Nikcevic (4), Romero (2), Joli (4, 2 p), Tokic (-), Alonso (-).

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