Handball. Champions League: PSG knocked out by Barcelona in the quarter-finals

After a quarter of an hour by three goals (11:8) and then by five at halftime (17:12), the Parisians could not challenge the last quarter of an hour (26-24, 48)E). Then a goal three minutes from the end (30-29).

They were subjected to the law of partners Dika Mem, who perfectly fulfilled his role as a spearhead (7 goals from 8 shots) and captain, and several times encouraged the Palau Blaugrana to loud support.

Last season’s semi-finalists, the Parisians exit the Champions League ahead of the Final Four in Cologne (June 7-8) at the end of a bumpy European season. Where they were thrown into the jaws of Barca after having to go through the play-offs (as in 2022, where they were already knocked out in the quarters, by Kiel), they only finished third in their group.

Defeated five times (in 14 days) during the group stage, the Parisians also suffered a sharp setback 10 days ago in the Coupe de France final when they were crushed by Nantes at Bercy (31-23).

In the double confrontation against Barca, PSG presented itself shortened by injuries, which deprived it of two left wingers Mathieu Grébille (ankle) and David Balaguer (calf) on Thursday.

Elohim Prandi, who was keeping the boat afloat on Thursday (October 13), injured his ankle in the first minutes of the journey there. And on the way back, goalkeeper Andras Palicka was missing, hit in the back.

Manpower challenged

Following Dominik Mathé’s serious knee injury with Hungary’s selection at the Euros in January, the Paris club are also without a second professional right-back since the start of the year to support Kent’s Robin Tonnesen.

The Parisian leaders have not hired a health joker for the position, where Egypt international Yahia Omar will play next season.

They also lost a bet with Jacob Holm: The Danish international centre-half or left-back hired last summer could never make his mark in a squad that was a bit tight on quality and quantity.

Certain decisions by Spain coach Raul Gonzalez could have been worrying, such as the decision to do without Nikola Karabatic for almost the entire second half against Barça in the first leg, while Prandi (left-back) was injured and Luc Steins appeared to be showing signs of fatigue at centre-half.

Nikola Karabatic, the handball legend who will retire this summer, played the last European match of his rich career, crowned with three Champions Leagues. Including one with the Catalan club (2015), where he spent two seasons and who bowed to him before the match.

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