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Rutenka, contra el Dinamo a la primera volta. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Barça Intersport ended the group stage with a largely meaningless encounter, for FCB were already guaranteed first place in the group and Minsk were always going to be third. Despite missing Sarmiento, Sorhaindo and Tomás, they performed well. Saric was impeccable in goal and Rutenka very motivated. Barça built up a healthy lead in the first half, and simply had to hold on the second.

Rutenka at home

With nothing major at stake, both teams were clearly keen to produce an entertaining game for the fans, and Rutenka was clearly enthused by the chance to play in his home country and against his brother Dzianis. It was he who took the reins of the team early on, scoring three consecutive goals to give Barça Intersport their first major lead as they took advantage of Dinamo being reduced by one man to make it 4-6 after nine minutes.

Wonderful Saric

Daniel Saric was another key player in the first half hour, and it was largely thanks to him that the Belarusians went a full five minutes without scoring. But after thirteen minutes, things were back all square at 7-7, for not only was home keeper Bogdanov on impressive form, but Barça were failing to combine in attack as they usually do. The same was not the case with Minsk’s Atman and Stetsyura, and after 17 minutes they had helped put their side back ahead at 10-9.

Changing point

But with Albert Rocas suddenly inspired, Barça Intersport restored their lead and extended it at 11-13 after 23 minutes. Xavi Pascual’s rotations seemed to be paying off, and in the breaking point of the game, Barça found their best touch just as Dinamo lost their own. After 28 minutes, they were six ahead at 11-17, and the half ended 13-18. After a slow start, Barça were now well in front.

Barça Intersport resist Dinamo fightback

But Dinamo Minsk had not thrown in the towel and started the second half so strong that in just six minutes they were back within one (19-20). Pascual made changes, and his new tactics paid off as the defence found its feet again and the attacking combinations started creating the kind of results they had produced in the first half. With the Belarusians reduced by one man, they made it 20-23 in the 42nd minute, and with the Saric-Rutenka tandem playing its best handball of the game, Barça Intersport were suddenly the better side again. At 22-26 after 49 minutes, they looked reasonably home and dry.

They spent the last ten minutes maintaining that four-goal cushion with professional expertise, and didn’t even look troubled when Jernemyr was sin binned. Once it was 25-30 with five minutes to go, Dinamo started looking resigned to defeat and Barça Intersport were able to enjoy the final minutes safe in the knowledge that they had another Champions League win under their belts.

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