European adventure comes to an end

On Thursday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball lost 32-31 in Barcelona in the EHF Champions League quarter-final return leg. Here's a look back at the match.

After losing to Barcelona at Coubertin last week in their first leg of the EHF Champions League quarter-final (22-30), Paris Saint-Germain Handball needed to do something special on Thursday evening to book their place in the Final4. That meant overcoming an eight-point deficit at the Palau Blaugrana, where it is always difficult not to come away empty-handed.

Les Rouge et Bleu got off to a good start and were the first to make the difference thanks to Ferran Solé Sala and Kent Robin Tonnesen (3': 1-2). In front of an all-Blaugrana crowd, they resisted the home side's onslaughts, with Jannick Green notably saving a penalty (11': 6-6). It wasn't enough to take the lead, but Paris were still in the game (16': 9-8).

After that, things got a little more complicated as the Catalan defence left less and less space in front of their six-metre line. For their part, our rearguard was handicapped by the simultaneous temporary exclusions of Luka Krabaric and Elohim Prandi (20': 13-10). Despite a number of impressive interventions, Jannick was unable to prevent FCB from going four goals to the good (24': 14-10). At the break, Raul Gonzalez's men were trailing by five (30': 17-12).

At the restart, the Catalans continued to add to their lead (35': 20-14). But after a number of strong defensive sequences, the Parisians started to get back on track thanks to goals from Luc Steins, Kamil Syprzak and Luka Karabatic (40': 23-20). This new-found success was not enough to curb Barcelona's ardour. French international Dika Mem even got his side back on track (46': 26-21).

Although the outcome of the double-header seemed to be sealed, Les Rouge et Bleu did their utmost to get back to within two goals of their opponents as the final ten minutes rolled around (48': 26-24). For several long minutes, a three-goal gap was maintained (53': 29-26), but Elohim managed to use his power to pull the capital club back to within one (56': 29-28). His final attempt at the buzzer found the hands of Emil Nielsen and Paris Saint-Germain Handball lost by a single goal (32-31). Their European adventure is now over, but they still have a Liqui Moly StarLigue to win, and that will require a victory in Dijon on Sunday.

REACTIONS FROM RAUL GONZALEZ, JANNICK GREEN AND RUBEN MARCHAN:

(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)