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Juanín García

Juanín García / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUÍZ

15th victory from 15 games in the league for Barça’s handball team. The Blaugrana closed out the first half of the season with a 33 to 16 victory over Naturhouse. Barça’s highest goal scorers were Kiril Lazarov, with 9 goals, and Nikola Karabatic, with 4. Xavi Pascual’s men lead the Liga Asobal with an 8-point advantage over Fraikin Granollers.

Sterbik closes the curtain

Lazarov and Karabatic guided the Blaugrana in the opening minutes of the match. The two teams started off in erratic fashion, but the Macedonian and the Frenchman took charge when Barça went on the attack and they managed to give their team the lead. The men managed by Xavi Pascual were very solid on defence and they rarely left any open spaces, and when they did, Sterbik stepped up to keep the visitors off the board. Two penalties taken by Lazarov and a counterattack by Juanín García gave Barça its biggest lead at that point in the game (8-3, min 14).

Ten demolishing minutes

Naturhouse La Rioja didn’t give up. The team managed by Jota González reacted and they jumped to a 0-4 run, and came close to taking the lead (8-7, min 18). But when it looked as though the visitors were going to catch the Blaugrana, Rutenka scored to restore Barça’s two-goal lead. Jon Ramiro’s goal brought Naturhouse within one gain, but from that point on Barça’s pressure proved too much to overcome. The Blaugrana jumped to a 6-0 run with goals from Noddesbo and David Balaguer. Barça defence held Naturhouse goalless for the following 10 minutes, and the teams went to the break with 15 to 8 on the scoreboard.

Lazarov and Entrerríos lead a rampant Barça

Barça pulled away from Naturhouse at the start of the second half. Lazarov scored within two minutes of the starting whistle and Entrerríos scored another, Barça, for the first time, had taken a 10-goal lead. The visiting side managed to score, but it wasn’t enough to catch the home team. Lazarov then went on to score five consecutive goals, taking Barça’s lead to 11 (21-10, minute 40).

Barça take a bigger lead

With the match practically in the bag, Barça didn’t let up. Pascual sent in players that usually don’t get playing time, while Naturhouse reserved its players. Barça outscored their rivals by 9 to 2, taking their advantage to 17 goals (33-16). Thus the Blaugrana claimed their 15th victory in as many matches.

MATCH FACTS

FC Barcelona, 33

Naturhouse La Rioja, 16

FC Barcelona (15+18): Sterbik,, Juanín García (1), Víctor Tomás (0), Raúl Entrerríos (3), Sorhaindo (1), Karabatic (4), Lazarov (9, 4p) -starting team-; Saric, Noddesbo (3), Aitor Ariño (2), Gurbindo (3), Viran Morros (0), Sarmiento (3), Rutenka (2), Stranovsky (1) and Balaguer (1).

Naturhouse La Rioja (8+8): Martínez, Velasco (0), Malburg (0), Gonçalves (5), Rodríguez (3), Fernández (2), Romero () -starting team-; Aguinagalde, Tioumentsev (4), Jiménez (0), Ramiro (1), Tolmos (1), Massachs (-).

Referee: Alfonso Rodríguez Murcia and Gregorio Muro San José


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