NEWS REPORT: Goalkeeper Perez de Vargas and top scorer Rivera steer the Catalan team to a dominant 29:25 final win over two-time defending champions Füchse Berlin
Barcelona raise Super Globe trophy for 3rd time
When Victor Tomas raised the trophy on the podium, standing in the golden confetti rain in the Duhail arena in Doha on Monday night, the team captain and his FC Barcelona Lassa teammates knew they had done it again.
Like in 2013 and 2014, the Catalan team won the IHF Super Globe, the unofficial club world championship, to become the record third-time winners of the competition.
The eight-time EHF Champions League winners dethroned defending champions Füchse Berlin (winners in 2015 and 2016) in a dominant way by winning the final 29:25 (15:12).
Key players for Barcelona were goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas with a save percentage of 54 before the break and 42 in total, and top scorer Valero Rivera junior, son of the Qatar national team coach Valero Rivera sr., who netted nine times.
Only once in the whole match, Barcelona looked shaken when Berlin went 18:17 ahead. But they soon regained control of the match, in which Berlin’s defence ace Jakov Gojun and coach Velimir Petkovic were sent off.
“We can be proud of winning the IHF Super Globe, I hope we can continue this way,” coach Xavi Pascual said.
His side had beaten VELUX EHF Champions League winners Vardar Skopje in the semi-final 32:29 to take revenge for their FINAL4 semi-final defeat in June. And they also avenged Füchse, who had eliminated them in the Super Globe semi-final two years ago.
“We had a really poor start and later on we lost too much power in our strongest period right after the break to stand the heat in crunch time,” Berlin manager Bob Hanning said after the deserved defeat. “If you want to beat a team like Barcelona, everything needs to fit for 100 percent, and today it didn’t.”
The saves by Perez de Vargas helped Barcelona to quickly build a strong lead (5:1, 11:5) but Berlin had reduced the gap to 15:12 at the break.
The German team went briefly ahead but Barcelona remained calm and decided the match when they went 27:22 ahead with three minutes left.
“Our consistency in defence and our goalkeeper were amazing again. To beat a good team like Berlin you need to play a really good game, and I think we did it,” Tomas was quoted on the IHF website.
In their first match of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase, Barcelona will face another German opponent – Rhein-Neckar Löwen in Mannheim on 17 September.
Berlin will start their EHF Cup campaign in Round 3 in November.
Super Globe debutants Vardar Skopje eased past tournament hosts Al-Sadd from Doha in the bronze medal match, 37:19 (14:10). Top scorers for the Champions League winners were their two Russian internationals, Daniil Shishkarev (7 goals) and Timur Dibirov (6).
Results final day IHF Super Globe:
7/8 placement match: Sydney Uni Handball Club (AUS) vs Naft-O-Gas-Gachsaran (IRI) 24:27 (12:13)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
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