Hard to imagine Nantes join Cologne after the first leg in the quarterfinals against Barcelona. The Catalan giant made a demonstration of play, intensity, speed both defensive and offensive against a team from Nantes who gradually gave up against the opposing power. Nantes suffered almost 60 minutes, managed to exist a little in attack by using the game to 7, but the losses of balls and the failures with the shoot will have weighed too much and the "H" was done little by little to roll second period to finish on a 25-32 pretty severe but fair.

An atmosphere of madness from the first ball circulations … Nantes-Barcelona gives the thrill of entry. From the atmosphere in the stands and the show in perspective on the floor, the Nantais know that it will deliver a match almost perfect to take a little advance before the second leg. Like a Valero Rivera who knows himself particularly watched over his old club. In the radius of the first faces to face inevitable, the star winger of "H" is played with success of Perez de Vargas on the first throw of seven meters. Malice in the intentions of the two Iberian internationals … but also a maximum concentration when it comes to equalize in the 7th minute by the same Rivera (3-3). In the first quarter of an hour, it is Barcelona who recites his scales in the image of a school movement concluded by Ludovic Fabregas. A game licked like Barca has done so well in the first phase … the balloons arrive easily to the wing, conclusions bullet transmissions made to the millimeter. Side Nantais, it is difficult to make a path around the Catalan colossi … Petrus, Duarte and Fabregas in mind. Especially complicated to get closer to the Spanish goal, the many losses of ball Nantes are bread for Gonzalo Perez de Vargas.

It will take a double exclusion to see the Nantais back a time to height (6-6, 13 '). But soon, Barcelona takes the ascendancy … transition game deployed to perfection to punish local inaccuracies (7-10, 18 '). The evening promises to be terribly complicated: too little realism within the attack placed Ligériens. The constant pressure of Blaugranas defenders is a permanent puzzle: Petrus, Sorhaindo or Duarte routinely climbing on a bare-handed Nantais ball carrier (8-12, 21 '). At this moment, players as supporters of the "H" do not lead wide. Faced with so much ease Barcelona, ​​the fatality would win the local camp? One would be tempted to think when the experienced Raul Entrerriis places a mine to bring the advantage of his team of always to +4. The first half is decidedly a nightmare for Nantes: Tournat is excluded at the wrong time and Fabregas misses the opportunity to preserve the Catalan acquis (10-14, 26 '). Worse, Victor Tomas feast at the very end of halftime. Like the perplexed face of Nicolas Claire in the stands, the first act Nantais is missed. Quick, fast … half-time to move on. Because Barcelona inflicts a handball lesson here on his host.

The return of the locker room does not even suggest a reduction in score (13-19, 33 '). This Barcelona prints a hellish pace and understands that we must leave no hope to his rival. Like a hyper-realistic Ludovic Fabregas, the Catalan steamroller keeps crushing everything in its path. The audience of the H Arena is only eager to catch fire … but how to counteract the speed of execution of Barça? A collective Blaugrana who strives to leave Nantes six points behind him (15-21, 37 '). We could make Olivier Nyokas the role of savior of the motherland … but it is another French who burst the screen: the unbearable Fabregas heals his line of statistics against Arnaud Siffert literally idle. In the 38th minute, it is no longer about qualifying, let alone reducing score … but just to avoid humiliation. Lasse Anderson is pounding again and again. Certainly, the Brazilian Petrus is sanctioned twice … but this rejoicing is far too ephemeral to have the slightest grin of satisfaction. For every purpose of the premises, the Iberian reaction is immediate … speed of a Barcelona set with the precision of a Swiss clock. Cherry on the cake, Perez de Vargas made a solid match in the Barcelona cage.

Let it be said, Nantes did not have the weapons tonight to compete against a potential winner of the Champions League. The dynamic that had allowed him to reach the final oven is no longer … the "H" must resign himself to his role as outsider. Palmarsson for a goal in full lunette (16-26, 43 '), will Barça let him guard in the last quarter of an hour? What's more normal given such a debauchery of energy. No, definitely no … this Barcelona defensive impeccable fold makes the dreamers dream of the small sticky ball … yet, Leo Messi was not on the floor Nantais. There are thirteen minutes left to play … thirteen long minutes spent from time to time to appreciate the few achievements of the "H" … spent above all to get excited about the Catalan recital (20-29, 52 '). In the end, the bill is more than salty: seven profit goals in favor of an overpowering Barça. Side Nantais, resignation is required … is to straighten the head to avoid a big spanking the return match.

Post-match comments:

Ludovic Fabregas (pivot of FC Barcelona)
"We played very well tonight. Everyone brought something to the collective. Despite our few mistakes … but they too made mistakes, it's part of the sport. We must rely on this benefit to try to republish it. There remains a second round at home in Barcelona. We will be well prepared for this return, nothing is acquired even if tonight we realize a nice performance. We hope to get a ticket for the final four, the goal since the beginning of the season is to try to win this trophy".

Cédric Sorhaindo (pivot of FC Barcelona)
"We prepared well for this match, and tonight it was successful. We are a growing team, just like Nantes. We have more affinities, complicity this season … and it is necessarily felt on the ground. Anything is possible, but first of all it is necessary to avoid overconfidence. We will strive to respect the instructions and stay focused to win at home".

Rock Feliho (defender of HBC Nantes)
"Many things did not work tonight. We will think, try to understand the reasons for this failure. I remain convinced that we are able to do much better than that. That Barcelona scores a lot of goals is not new. After, we must find solutions to pose more problems. I think they've been given too much easy counters".

David Balaguer (winger of HBC Nantes)
"Too many mistakes, too much haste. This is not possible against a Barcelona team. We have to concentrate for 60 minutes … and we did not do that. Barcelona is very strong at the moment, playing at fourteen … and after fifteen minutes the team changes. But we must not look for an excuse, we just played badly. We are obviously very disappointed, especially seeing the atmosphere of tonight".

The photo slideshow of Nantes – Barcelona by Philippe Padioleau

In Nantes, at the "H Arena" Beaulieu Sports Palace
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 20:45
Quarter-final first leg of the Champions League
HBC Nantes – FC Barcelona: 25-32 (Half time: 12-16)

5,902 spectators
Referees: MM Matija Gubica and Boris Milosevic (Serbia)
Delegates: Mr. Klaus Dieter Convents (Germany) and Antonio Goulao (Porto)

Evolution of the score: 2-3 (5 °, 4-6 °, 6-9 °, 8-11 °, 10-13 °, 12-16 MT – 15-20, 35 °, 15-24, 40 °, 17- 45 °, 20-28 °, 22-29 °, 25-32 FT.

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