Real Madrid are back in the final of the Eurleague Final Four Championships where they will be looking to go one better than last year where they lost out. The Spanish giants booked their place in Sunday’s showcase game after smashing their rivals FC Barcelona in the Mediolanum Forum in the city of Milan. The two teams may be El Clasico rivals but there was no great sense of rivalry in this match with Madrid powering away from their beleaguered opponents.
With a winning margin of 38 points, Real Madrid can now claim to have the biggest margin of victory in a Euroleague semi-final match-up. This takes the record away from Barcelona who previously held it with a 101-67 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv, all the way back in 1991. Given that Maccabi Tel Aviv were the other semi-finalists on Friday, overcoming CSKA Moscow in a stunning match, it was a good day for the Israeli team and a bad day for the team from Catalonia.
Going into the match, although both teams had triumphed against the other over the course of the season, the team from the Spanish capital was the favourite. The bookmakers were siding with Real Madrid, with odds of around 1.60 on offer for the team in white to make their way through. These odds were not at the level of the favourites for the first semi-final, CSKA Moscow who crashed out, but there was an expectation surrounding Madrid. Perhaps the outcome of the first match provided Madrid with the impetus to push on for success and a warning that just because you are the favourite doesn’t mean success is handed to you. Madrid would have to earn their final place, which they did, smashing their opponent in great style.
Real Madrid looking to smash their Euroleague drought
Madrid will be looking to smash a Euroleague drought that has nearly lasted 20 years and after losing to Olympiacos in last season’s final, this team will know the pressure and expectations that come with a final. This may be a factor in the outcome of the big event. One of the reasons that Madrid were so comfortable in the end is down to the fact that their big players turned up and put on a show.
Sergio Rodriguez received the Euroleague MVP from sponsors bwin in the run up to the match and he duly delivered. A total of 21 points and 6 assists will go a long way to helping your team to victory. Nikola Mirotic chipped in with 19 points and our player to look out for in the Madrid camp, Rudy Fernandez delivered 12 points on the way to the semi-final victory.
The top scoring Barca player was Ante Tomic, who managed to grab 16 points and 8 rebounds in the game. One player who will be feeling defeat hardest for Barcelona is Kostas Papanikolaou who was gunning for a third successive Euroleague success. Strangely enough, Kyle Hines from CSKA Moscow was also in the running for this accolade at the start of the Final Four but both of these players were on the losing side on Friday.
Barcelona will have to lick their wounds but they have a chance to get this humiliating defeat out of their system on Sunday in the 3rd/4th Play-Off. While the Barca players and fans will be hurting, their pain is unlikely to be as strong as the pain felt by CSKA Moscow players. As for Real Madrid fans, their passage to the final wasn’t as gripping as that experienced by Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv fans but if it leads to the Spanish giants clinching the Final Four Championship, the fans won’t care how it is achieved.