If you’re a fan of Kiel or Atletico then you’re in luck today because if you’ve got two chances to see your boys on British TV.
The lovely folks at Premier Sports will be showing today’s EHF Champions League group match in full at 4.15pm UK (Sky Channel 428) whereas British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411) will be showing highlights at 11.30pm.
British Eurosport 2 is also your home for the Euro 2012 Daily Show. Throughout the tournament at midnight and 5.45am they will be showing an EHF-produced review of the day’s events. No live coverage that I can see – for that you’ll need to head over to the EHF Euro YouTube channel.
So with grim predictability Barcelona got their domestic season off to a winning start although the sparse home crowd must have been a bit bewildered to see the boys in blue and red stripes trail 5-1 after 6 minutes before the Catalans remembered that shooting on target is a useful skill and headed into a lead by half time they never looked like losing, winning the second half 13:7 for a 26:19 win. Victor Gonzalez topscored for Barcelona with 8 goals from 11 shots.
Now, following their humbling at home in the Supercopa, it’s time for Atletico Madrid to open their campaign. They do so against my favouritely-named team: Naturhouse la Rioja (they seem like a fun bunch too). The match starts at 7pm UK time and is live on Bet365 (who for reference have given Naturhouse an eight goal lead in the betting). Once this match is done we’ll have finished the first round of Asobal matches with only another 29 rounds left to determine which of the big two takes the title.
If the Supercopa is a way for Spain’s top two teams to announce their intentions towards each other then Barcelona put their’s forward in neon flashing lights. The Catalans opened up a 7 goal lead midway into the first half and, aside from a period that Atletico really should have capitalised on when the lead could have closed to 1 they never looked like surrendering it, eventually winning 34:31.
Madrid spent a lot of time staring at the officials but it’s hard to see that they were to blame – far too many Atletico attacks ended in suprisingly ineffective shots or in overturned possession. Barcelona were the same efficient unit they always seem to be: some of the faces change but the ethic remains solid and they were worthy winners of their 15th Supercopa title.
Atletico won last season’s match but Asobal went to Barcelona – although Madrid did better in Europe and won the Copa del Rey. So this one match doesn’t really count for anything but in terms of setting up the season it did an excellent job of whetting the appetite.
Atlético Madrid served notice that they will not stand idly by whilst FC Barcelona take the Asobal title or Kiel all the European glory this year. Balić has been MVP in countless international tournaments (six, according to wiki) and is an Olympic and World champion with Croatia. He joins from RK Zagreb having previously spent time in Spain with Portland San Antonio. The official unveiling is tomorrow morning but the Athletico website has the news up now.
And as for why you should care: the video below (not mine I hasten to add) is a nice primer to this most dominant of players …