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Borregán / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

Barça were on the verge of completing a perfect season, but Coinasa Liceo and an incredible performance from Xavier Malián deprived the Catalans of the European Crown. Truth be told it wasn’t Barça’s best performance in Lodi, but Cairo’s men did have options to win the game all the way up until the final whistle. Coinasa Liceo, however, came out on top as the reigning champions successfully defended their crown. This was the third European League final between Catalans and Gallegos. The first two were won by Barça the latest final, this Sunday’s, went to Coinasa Liceo.

Equal at the start

Barça and Coinasa Liceo showed from the get go that they’re both very offensive minded teams. In fact, the first goal was scored on four minutes. Reinaldo García scored for the Azulgranas through a long-range shot that pinged the inside of the right post. 13 seconds later, in the play right after Reinaldo’s goal, Josep Lamas brought the Gallegos level with a shot to the far post. Cairo’s men insisted on scoring, but they came up against Xavier Malián, Coinasa Liceo’s keeper. The keeper saved a great shot from Torra, a counterattack from Ordeig and another phenomenal attempt from Gual.

Encouraged by the Malián’s performance, Coinasa Liceo slowly started to dominate on the court, and, with five seconds to go for the break, Jordi Bargalló scored the go-ahead goal from a counterattack. The reigning champions of the European League went to the break with a 1-2 in their favour.

Gual brings Barça level

At the start of the second half, the Portuguese referees turned a blind eye when Malián possibly assaulted Sergi Panadero; it shook Barça’s concentration. Egurrola saved a shot from Barreiros. A few seconds after that, Bargalló committed a bookable offence on  Panadero. The Coinasa Liceo captain was shown a blue card and Barça, through Marc Gual, quickly scored the 2-2.

The accumulation of fouls from both teams ended up being key to the outcome of the Final. Barça got to the 10-foul mark before their opponents did, but Liceo wasn’t far behind. Gual tried to score the go-ahead goal but Malián saved the free hit.

Title decided in the final minute

Near the end of the match Toni Pérez sent the ball to the woodwork. When it looked as though the game was headed for overtime, Barreiros took advantage of a great assist from Bargalló to score the decisive goal, there were only 26 seconds left on the clock. Barça, who pulled their keeper, desperately attempted to score the equaliser, but Jordi Bargalló, from a free hit, made it 2-4.

MATCH STATS

FC Barcelona, 2
Coinasa Liceo, 4

FC Barcelona: Egurrola, Ordeig, Torra, Reinaldo García and Borregán –starting five‒ Gual, Álvarez and Panadero.

Coinasa Liceo: Malian, Eduard Lamas, Jordi Bargalló, Barreiros and Josep Lamas –starting five‒ Miras, Pascual and Toni Pérez.

Goals: 1-0, Reinaldo García, min 4; 1-1, Josep Lamas, min 4; 1-2, Jordi Bargalló, min 25; 2-2, Marc Gual, min 34; 2-3, Ricardo Barreiros, min 50, i 2-4, Jordi Bargalló, min 50.

Referees: Pinto and Monteiro (Portugal).

Borregán's tears

Beto Borregán was not able to end his career with the European League title but he was given a spontaneous and heartfelt standing ovation by the Barça supporters in Lodi. Borregán will hang up his skates after winning 58 titles. The tears of the captain, one of the best players in the Final 8, turned into applause after the game was over.



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