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Date: 8/28/2017

Two years after they were knocked out of the trophy race by Füchse Berlin in the penultimate match, FC Barcelona took revenge against the German side with a four-goal victory in the final to claim the 2017 IHF Super Globe title. The nine-time EHF Champions League winners controlled the first half before Berlin pulled off an impressive comeback in the second period, but Barcelona recovered to take the lead in the final 10 minutes and claim the gold medal. 

“It’s really nice to start the season like this. To win a competition with the European champion is always great and gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season,” said captain Victor Tomas after the victory, which made Barcelona the first team to win three IHF Super Globe titles. 

“I think we did a great job both in attack and defence. I think the most important thing was to keep calm when Berlin were one goal ahead after we were leading the whole game. Our consistency in defence and our goalkeeper was amazing, again. To beat a good team like Berlin you need to play a really good game, and I think we did it.”

Earlier in the evening, on their debut at the IHF Super Globe, HC Vardar beat hosts Al Sadd with a commanding 18-goal victory that placed them third at their debut IHF Super Globe. 

Final: Füchse Berlin (GER) vs FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) 25:29 (12:15)

The first goals came from the team’s Junior players, with Dika Mem scoring the opener for FC Barcelona before Kevin Struck added one for the defending champions. Following his goal, Berlin could not beat Barcelona’s defence backed by Gonzalo Perez de Vargas for eight minutes, while the Catalan team scored two more goals before they too were kept quiet by the German side’s keeper Silvio Heinevetter. 

In the ninth minute Timothy N’Guessan broke the drought with his second goal, after which his French teammate Mem tallied his second to pull Barca in front 5:1 as the clock showed 10 minutes. Right back Marko Kopljar finally found the net again for Berlin in 11th, but even then it was clear they would have to work very hard for every goal – particularly considering Perez de Vargas was in his best form. 

Berlin’s Jakov Gojun received his second two-minute suspension as early as the 14th minute, putting him in a dangerous position with a seemingly inevitable red card waiting with just one bad move. The defending champions’ coach Velimir Petkovic called the first time-out of the match just as the clock reached midway (6:3 to Barcelona), though it did not swing the momentum of the match. 

Barcelona hit 10 goals to Berlin’s five in the 19th when Perez de Vargas scored a long-range shot into the German team’s empty goal – but it soon became clear Barcelona could not get too comfortable yet. Through the last 10 minutes of the first period Berlin recorded a 7:4 run that took the margin to three by the time the half-time whistle sounded, at which point Perez de Vargas was clearly a decisive factor as he finished with a 54% save rate for the period. 

In the first eight minutes of the second half Perez de Vargas continued with his exceptional performance, making two penalty saves, though Berlin still staged a comeback. The defending champions levelled the score in the 41st with a fast break from Mattias Zachrisson, and the Swedish right wing struck again seconds later, pulling the German team in front 18:17. 

Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual had little choice but to use his final time-out at that point, after which his team found renewed vigour and reclaimed a two-goal advantage off an outside shot from newcomer Jure Dolenec. As the last 10 minutes began the difference stayed at two for Barcelona (22:20), before Gojun received his third two-minute suspension and therefore a red card. 

With the final buzzer drawing closer the record EHF Champions League winners pulled further away, leaving little doubt as the clock ticked down. When Valero Rivera took Barcelona in front to 27:24 in the 59th, the trophy was decided. 

Bronze-medal match: Al Sadd (QAT) vs HC Vardar Skopje (MKD) 19:37 (10:14)

HC Vardar had little trouble controlling the bronze-medal match from the first whistle to the last, as they held the advantage from the beginning with only a brief comeback from Al Sadd that threatened the European side. 

Vardar took a 3:0 lead before Amine Guehis added the first goal for the hosts after the end of the opening five minutes. With a 5-1 defensive system with Timur Dibirov in front, Vardar’s defence was difficult to break through and even when the Qatari team found their way, ever-reliable goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik stood solid in goal. Al Sadd also played 5-1 with Hamdi Hadjayed in front, but it did not control Vardar’s line-up enough to earn the Asian side the upper hand. 

The hosts managed to close the gap however, and at the 10-minute mark were within one goal at 4:5. The score remained with a one-goal advantage for Vardar midway through the half (7:6) before Al Sadd levelled the score. Keeper Danijel Saric saved a penalty against Ivan Cupic and his team had the chance to take the lead, but they did not capitalise on the opportunity and from there Vardar reopened a clear distance. 

The Champions League title holders took a four-goal advantage into the break, and when the match resumed showed their dominance as they pushed ahead to finish with an 18-goal score line in their favour. Al Sadd’s young keeper Rasheed Yusuff came in to face a penalty shot in the 40th, and kept the score at 12:21 with a great save – but as Vardar led by 11 goals at that point the bronze medal was decided. 

Vardar’s Daniil Shishkarev finished as top scorer of the match with seven goals, closely followed by his Russian teammate Dibirov on six.