Barcelona’s Victor Tomas (centre) lifting the 2014 IHF Super Globe handball trophy as Minister of Youth and Sports HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, International Handball Federation president Dr Hassan Moustaffa and other Barcelona players look on. The defending champions retained the title after beating Qatar’s Al Sadd 34-26 in the final at the Qatar Handball Association Complex yesterday. This was the second time Al Sadd had finished runner-up, after they did so in 2010
There was never a dull moment in the game, which was befitting a final. The capacity holiday crowd that thronged the Qatar Handball Association Sports Complex was left asking for more, but so did Al Sadd.
This was also the second time Al Sadd had finished runner-up, after they did so in 2010. The five-time Asian champions were never the favourites going into the final, after they were beaten by Barcelona in the league stage 25-34. But they were not going to bow out without a fight.Once a powerhouse handball club in the region, Al Sadd have slipped down the radar and yesterday was their chance to set the record straight. But much to their disappointment, the Qatari club failed to end their 12-year wait for the IHF Super Globe trophy, after going down to Barcelona 26-34 in the final, with the Spanish team defending their title.
There sure were nerves at the start, as Sadd allowed Barcelona to jump into an early 3-0 lead. In fact, the hosts opened their account only in the fifth minute. While they did narrow down the gap, Sadd never managed to draw level or take the lead. Amine Bannour, who played a key role in taking his team to the final, was at the forefront again scoring four times as Al Sadd were breathing down the Spanish team’s neck at 9-12. However, with left-back Siarhei Rutenka and right-back Eduardo Gurbindo in prime nick, Barcelona kept forging ahead.
Sadd, though, struck in the last five minutes, scoring three consecutive goals as they trailed Barcelona by just two at 15-16 at half-time.
Post-interval, Al Sadd brought down the lead to just one point. But Barcelona, as with all world-class teams, took their game to another level when pushed to the wall. From 19-18, the Catalans made it to 19-24 with some aggressive counter-attacking as Al Sadd buckled under pressure.