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28.01.2009 22:44

Madrid draw first blood (85-83)

Sònia de Alba

Regal FC Barcelona have lost by two points in Vistalegre. Despite the visitors dominating the game from the start, Real Madrid managed to turn things around right at the close.

Regal FCB have lost on their Euroleague Top 16 debut, and that despite leading for 38 minutes, when Real Madrid came good just when it mattered most. Two consecutive three pointers from Louis Bullock and Sergi Llull were the key as Barça were stunned by a side that had been playing catch up since the start.

Strong start for Barça

GYI0056600417.jpgThe first Euroleague clásico of the season started with Regal Barça looking confident. Jaka Lakovic, Daniel Santiago and Juan Carlos Navarro caused Joan Plaza to call his first timeout just four minutes into the game, with the score already at 5-12.

Raül López was taken off and on came Sergi Llull, and that did produce something of a reaction from the whites, but Barça were still in control.

Threes from Gianluca Basile and Lubos Barton then stretched their lead to 9-20.

Àlex Mumbrú with a triple of his own on the buzzer kept Real Madrid in the hunt at the end of the first period (19-26).

Madrid claw their way back

GYI0056600326.jpgJoan Plaza’s side then started reducing the gap, which narrowed to just four early in the second period. A 2 +1 from Marko Tomas made it 26-30.

Not that that seemed to concern Regal Barça too much. With a solid work rate they opened the gap back up to nine, including a 0-5 streak courtesy of Navarro and Barton (32-41).

Felipe Reyes then started revealing some class of his own, with a 6-0 streak for Madrid boosted by four from the centre, and a packed Vistalegre changed its tune (38-41).

By the break, Barça were still in command, although Madrid had them in their sights (40-45).

Llull and Bullock stun Barça

GYI0056600733.jpgThe third period started with some clever play from Barcelona, Fran Vázquez in the thick of it. First we had an alley-hoop served up by Basile and then the Galician smashed home a textbook assist from Víctor Sada.

But the home side responded well. It was end to end stuff, with the score becoming 53-55 after a Quinton Hosley smash, then a last second three from Jaka Lakovic gave Barça a cushion of five points going into the deciding period (59-64).

That gap soon became ten (62-72) and looked enough for Regal Barça. Yet all that work was thrown away in two catastrophic final minutes. Two consecutive turnovers saw Llull score first, and then Jeremiah Massey, and all of a sudden Real Madrid were back in it.

They had been losing from the start, but saw their chance and seized it. A Louis Bullock three pointer with 1.40 on the clock tied affairs on 78. Then Madrid’s Menorcan guard sent home another from behind the 6.25 line, and it was 81-78.

Tactical fouls saw the clock tick down, and did nothing to prevent the game from ending 85-83. That two-point difference could prove crucial with basket averages often counting for so much in the Euroleague Top 16.
Photos: Getty Images
Photos: Getty Images

Real Madrid (19+21+19+26): Reyes (15), Hosley (5), Massey (6), Bullock (18), López (8) – starting five – Sánchez (-), Van den Spiegel (2), Mumbrú (2), Hervelle (5), Llull (18), Tomas (6), Hamilton (-)

Regal FC Barcelona (26+19+19+19): Basile (9), Lakovic (7), Navarro (21), Ilyasova (5), Santiago (6) – starting five – Barrett (-), Trias (-), Barton (5), Andersen (7), Vázquez (16), Sada (2), Grimau (5)

Referees: Koukoulekidis (GRE), Sutulovic (MNE) and Rocha (POR)

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