Barcelona's number one provides a goalkeeping masterclass
Sterbik helps Barcelona get one hand on the league
When FC Barcelona Intersport announced the signing of goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik from Atlético de Madrid, the question often asked was whether the Catalonian team gained more than Madrid lost from this signing.
That argument was settled on Sunday with a spectacular performance by Sterbik in the Palacio de Vistalegre of Madrid, where Barcelona secured a very important 25:22 victory, which leaves Xavi Pascual’s team with a significant advantage in the race for the title.
"Sterbik saved everything" said Talant Dujshebaev at the post-match press conference, who did not hesitate to point out the different performance of goalkeepers from both teams as the key of Atlético’s defeat.
"My team has been impressive in defence. In the first half we should have gone ahead on the scoreboard, but Sterbik has saved everything, "Atletico's coach insisted.
There were impressive numbers for Arpad Sterbik during his visit to Madrid, where the Serbian born, Spanish goalkeeper ended with a forty four percent save rate after racking up a total of seventeen saves, including two penalties.
Compared to that spectacular performance, Atlético's goalkeeper Magnus Dahl could only replicate it in the first half.
Dahl ended the first thirty minutes with seven saves, two fewer than Sterbik, whose nine allowed to Barcelona reach the break with an 11:12 lead.
But while Dahl, who ended up being replaced by Bosnian Adnan Sabanovic, regressed somewhat in the second half, Sterbik improved minute by minute to allow Barcelona to stretch their advantage on the scoreboard.
Barcelona took a 17:12 lead, after two consecutive penalty saves from Sterbik against Macedonian Kiril Lazarov and winger Josep Mascahs.
Saves and more saves did not prevent Atlético de Madrid, in their best performance of the season, to reduce the difference to only one goal (18:19) with the support of more than 10,000 spectators who came to Vistalegre.
Arpad Sterbik managed to frustrate his opponents further, with three final saves against Nikolaj Markussen twice, and Joan Cañellas, which secured the 22:25 victory to Barcelona Intersport, who are now three points ahead of Atlético de Madrid in the table.
TEXT: Javier Villanueva / cor