DOHA: Barcelona Intersport won their first IHF Super Globe title after defeating European champions HSV Hamburg 27-25 in a thrilling final between the two debutants in Doha yesterday.
The Spanish club, who replaced former champions Atletico Madrid in the eight-team competition earlier this year, gained revenge for their Champions League loss against the Germans in June this year and picked up a $400,000 cheque.
In other matches yesterday, Eljaish finished in third position after a 27-20 victory over Etoile Sportive du Sahel.
Qatari clubs Al Sadd and Al Rayyan won their final placement matches.
Al Sadd cruised past Sydney University 32-19, to finish in seventh position.
Al Rayyan was made to work for their 30-29 victory over Taubate to finish in fifth place.
Hamburg had the better start thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Johannes Bitter, but then Barcelona improved in defence.
With the score 6-6, the Catalans took the lead as the Germans had problems in scoring, as a huge number of their shots were blocked by the tall Barcelona middle block or were saved by goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik.
After the break, both teams were below their full potential levels having decelerated and the European sides made a big number of mistakes.
With players suffering from tiredness which was clearly visible having played their fifth match in six days, the game was nearly only imprinted by both defence sides.
But the Catalans - pushed by highly efficient team captain Victor Tomas were still the better team.
In the 40th minute, Barcelona managed to gain their first ever four-goal lead in the match, when outstanding and powerful Nikola Karabatic hit the net to make the score 20-16.
Two-time European Championship winner Hans Linberg was the best Hamburg player, as the Danish player scored an overall of seven goals.
Backed by Lindberg and the saves of Bitter, Hamburg managed rally back. At 20-21, Barcelona players sensed the threat of the European champions, and had new goalkeeper Danijel Saric to thank, having saved two penalty shots.
With Saric, Barca’s defence strengthened as a unit in the final crucial minutes as Hamburg could not find the gaps to get through and score.
Finally a successful penalty shot by Siarhei Rutenka secured the final result the first ever Barca title victory in the tournament.
In the third-place play-off match, both teams started with a low scoring efficiency.
After 10 minutes, the score was only 2-2.
With the score 8-3 in favour to Eljaish, the Qatari team continued to shoot more precisley that went into the back of the net.
The margin could have been bigger but Sahel was inspired by the goalkeeping of Mohamed Shebib.
In the second half, the Tunisians were more determined and their defence worked better.
But Eljaish withstood and extended the gap by three straight goals from 16-12 to a pre-decisive 19-12 in the 45th minute.
The wild-card entrants continued to dominate and the referee blew the whistle which delighted the Eljaish players.