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Hand: unsurprisingly, PSG eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League

Paris SG came far from the “comeback” necessary to eliminate FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Handball Champions League, beaten with honors Thursday in Catalonia (32-31) for Nikola Karabatic's last European match, after being crushed on the way home (30-22).

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Hand: unsurprisingly, PSG eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League

Paris SG came far from the “comeback” necessary to eliminate FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Handball Champions League, beaten with honors Thursday in Catalonia (32-31) for Nikola Karabatic's last European match, after being crushed on the way home (30-22).

Trailing by three goals after a quarter of an hour (11-8) then by five at half-time (17-12), the Parisians were never able to put the Catalans in doubt, despite a two-goal comeback. units behind in the last quarter of an hour (26-24, 48th). Then a goal three minutes from the end (30-29).

They were subjected to the law of the partners of Dika Mem, who perfectly played his role as spearhead (7 goals from 8 shots) and captain, urging the Palau Blaugrana to loud support on several occasions. Semi-finalists last season, the Parisians leave the Champions League before the Final Four in Cologne (June 7-8) at the end of a bumpy European season.

Where they were thrown into the jaws of Barça after having had to go through the play-offs (like in 2022, where they had already been eliminated in the quarters, by Kiel) finishing only third in their group. Beaten five times (in 14 days) during the group stage, the Parisians also suffered a stinging setback 10 days ago in the final of the Coupe de France, crushed by Nantes at Bercy (31-23).

PSG presented itself during its double confrontation against Barça diminished by injuries, which deprived it of its two left wingers, Mathieu Grébille (ankle) and David Balaguer (calf), still too tight on Thursday. Elohim Prandi, who kept the ship afloat on Thursday (10/13), injured his ankle in the first minutes of the outward journey. And on the way back, it was goalkeeper Andras Palicka who was missing, hit in the back.

The Parisian club has also been deprived since the start of the year of a second professional right-back, to support Kent Robin Tonnesen, after the serious knee injury of Dominik Mathé with the Hungarian selection at the Euro in January. The Parisian leaders have not hired a medical joker in this position where the Egyptian international Yahia Omar will play next season. They also lost the Jacob Holm bet: hired last summer, the Danish international center half or left-back never managed to establish himself within a squad that was a little tight in quality and quantity.

Certain choices made by the Spanish coach Raul Gonzalez may also have been of concern, 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 seemed to be showing signs of fatigue at center half. 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 paid tribute to him before the match.

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