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Date: 8/29/2013

Two European teams will fight for the IHF Super Globe 2013 trophy: After HSV Hamburg had beaten Etolie Sportive du Sahel in the first semi clearly, FC Barcelona needed to give all to eliminate the Qataris of El-Jaish. The final result of 40:31 does not reflect the rundown of the match, as El-Jaish were on eye level for 52 minutes. The final of the IHF Super Globe on Friday (30 August) will be the re-match of this year’s European Champions League final, closely won by Hamburg after extra-time.

Semi-final 2:

FC Barcelona (ESP) –El-Jaish (QAT) 40:31 (20:14)

FC Barcelona started in express mode, overrunning the Qatari team by counter attack goals and back court hammers. Despite the brilliant support of their vociferous spectators El-Jaish were completely chanceless in the beginning. Even an early time-out of coach Akkeb Kamel after the 1:5 did not change the rundown of the match, in contrast: Barcelona forged ahead to 13:6 in the middle of the first half. Boosted by their newcomer Nikola Karabatic, the Catalans’ goals were like needle-pins for El-Jaish – so the Qataris were down by six goals at the break.

But everything changed at the start of the second half: El-Jaish had adapted to the Barcelona style of attack, improved in defence, caused turnovers and then managed to score easy goals. After only five minutes of the second half they had reduced the gap to only 18:21 –and Barca coach Xavi Pascual needed to interrupt by a time-out to avoid a further downswing.

But El-Jaish stood strong, while Barcelona had lost their rhythm in attack completely. When Mohamed Shebib stroke for the 21:22 the arena in Doha went crazy. And even with two players more on the field, Barcelona did not manage to increase the gap again, as El-Jaish goalkeeper Mohsain Yafai kept his team in the game.

El-Jaish –in this period pushed by Slim Hedoui and Mosbah Sanai - did not lose power and skills until the final stages, kept their defence shut and were on eye level. With eight minutes to go the score was still close at 31:29 for Barca. But this was the last sign of life of El-Jaish. Scoring five straight goals in only four minutes Barcelona decided the match at 36:29. In the end, the final series of Barcelona was a 9:2 in the last eight minutes, mostly scored by counter attack goals.

Statements after the match:

Xavi Pascual, coach Barcelona: I am really happy to be in the final – and we are ready for the final. For me the match against Hamburg is no revenge for the Champions League final. It is the Super Globe, and FC Barcelona is important, not he opponent. We want to win this important international tournament, regardless the team we face. In the first 20 minutes of the semi we played extra-ordinary. In the second half El-Jaish was excellent and managed to close the distance. Even with a two man advantage on the court we had problems to score.

Nikola Karabatic, player Barcelona: First it is great for me to be part of this tournament, second I am really happy to be in the final. It was our great goal to be in the Super Globe final - and now we have made it. I feel a great satisfaction of what my team did up to now.

Akked Kamel, coach El-Jaish:  In the beginning we had too much respect for Barcelona, in the second half we gained more confidence and accelerated our speed. But those tough and hard physical efforts were too much in the end. My players became tired and lacked concentration, as the physical constitution had an impact on the precision of our shots. Unfortunately for us, Barcelona played their best match in this tournament. Despite the defeat this match was a great experience and satisfaction for us.

Amine Khedher, player El-Jaish: Every one of us had dreamt of the final, but in the beginning we made too many mistakes. But in the second half we played very well until minute 50 and even managed to reduce the gap to a one goal difference. But in the final minutes Barcelona did not only have the better experience on their side, but was in a physically better condition.  Now we fight for the third position.