Nantes take MOTW against Barcelona
Playing a VELUX EHF Champions League match for the first time in the XXL Arena, Nantes beat FC Barcelona Lassa (29:25) in Round 10 Match of the Week.
- Six Nantes players scored three goals or more, with David Balaguer ending the game as top scorer with five goals
- Returning his home country, Dika Mem scored six for Barcelona
- Tonight was Nantes' fifth win in a row in the Champions League
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs FC Barcelona Lassa 29:25 (16:11)
Both the teams started the game on level pegging, as Dika Mem and Dominik Klein were both scoring for their respective teams.
In Nantes' goal, Cyril Dumoulin was slowly warming up and a series of saves helped his team-mates create the first gap of the evening, as the home team pushed forward.
A 4:0 run later, Nantes were four goals ahead, forcing Xavi Pascual, Barcelona coach, to take a timeout.
That helped, but only for a moment. Wael Jallouz was having a nice time, scoring two in a row, but just as he pulled the score even at 10:10, the Barcelona machine slowed down again.
Not scoring any goals for twelve minutes, the Spanish side saw Nantes, once again, fly away. Fast breaks by Julian Emonet, line players shots by Nicolas Tournat, Nantes went back to the dressing room with a five-goal advantage, 16:11.
And this, they weren't going to let go of, ever increasing the lead at the beginning of the second half.
Another Barcelona turnover gave Rudolf Faluvegi the opportunity to give Nantes a seven-goal lead, and the Hungarian didn't miss it (19:12).
And if, in the first leg, Nantes wasted a five-goal gap gifting Barcelona the win in the end, this time, they kept their calm all the way through to the end.
Even when they were struggling offensively, they managed to score one or two goals, enough to keep the advantage. Romain Lagarde was particularly important when his nine-meter goal, eight minutes from the end, gave Nantes a four-goal advantage eight minutes from the final siren - one that would remain until the last second of the game.
Winning 29:25, Nantes secure the second spot of Group A, right behind Vardar, while Barcelona remains third, tied with Rhein-Neckar Löwen, four points behind Nantes.
Cyril Dumoulin took Player of the Match award for Round 10 Match of the Week presented by Plan International.
Match of the Week came under the motto "My dream is..." because all of us have dreams even boys and girls in developing countries. Read here for more information.
Thierry Anti (HBC Nantes): "It was important to play with high intensity from the beginning against a team such like Barcelona.
"We made a lot of changes really quickly to maintain this rhythm and tire them out.
"Our fans were fantastic, just like Rock Feliho and his defense. I am really pleased tonight."
Xavier Pascual (FC Barcelona Lassa): "Nantes took control of the game in all sectors: attack, defense, fast-breaks.
"Good for us that there is a Champions League break until February so we can go on working."Author: Kevin Domas / bc