BARBAR put together one of their finest performances in the 2011/12 season to beat contenders Al Shabab 27-21 and reach the final of the Bahrain Handball League.
In a seesaw clash, played at the Bahrain Handball Association' gym in Um Al Hassam, Barbar foiled a late comeback by Al Shabab to capture a six-goal victory and take a crucial step towards regaining the trophy.
National team star Mahmood Abdulqader made an outstanding return from injury to score a game-high eight goals and guide Barbar to a place in the final, boosting his team's chances of winning their fifth league crown and their first since 2009.
Barbar will now take on 14-time champions Al Ahli in the final, to be held on Sunday at the same venue. It is set for 7pm kick-off.
Al Ahli made it to the final earlier this week beating 16-time league winners Al Najma 26-21 in an exciting semi-final.
The final will be preceded by a consolation match between semi-finals losers Al Najma and Al Shabab at 5pm to decide the team rounding off the podium.
Barbar, who made it to the semi-finals after coming second behind leaders Al Ahli in the top-six second round, headed into last night's game needing a victory to go through from this semi-final playoff.
As for Al Shabab, they needed to win this game to extend the playoff into a second and deciding clash, having finished third in the second round.
This was the third encounter between the two clubs, who met twice earlier this season, with both matches ending in draws.
And it was Barbar who had a better start to this 60-minute crunch game, taking a 6-4 lead in the 10th minute with Mohammed Al Maqabi, Abdulelah Jaffer and Ali Abdulqader smashing powerful shots into the net of Al Shabab's goalkeeper Ahmed Mansoor.
Barbar, under their Iraqi coach Dhafer Saheb, continued to rule the following proceeding as they stretched their lead to 10-5 in the 20th minute, then cruised to a six-goal advantage five minutes later.
Al Shabab gradually came back into the game with an improved performance, led by their top scorer Jassim Al Salatna, who managed six goals.
Coached by Essam Abdulla, Al Shabab reduced the deficit to three goals, all scored by Mahdi Saad, before Al Maqabi fired a late goal to give Barbar a four-goal lead of 14-10 at the break.
The second-half was a one-sided affair as Barbar stretched their advantage to a five-goal margin in the 13th minute, which was extended to seven goals with less than 10 minutes remaining.