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20.02.2008 19:44

Tiredness takes it toll (72-55)

Carles Cascante

After the nine hour journey to Moscow, AXA FC Barcelona looked worn out on their visit to the Universal Sports Hall. Xavi Pascual lost for the first time as Barcelona head coach.

AXA Barça never quite managed to gain any command of a CSKA side that was slightly better throughout, and ended up being defeated on newly ratified head coach Xavier Pascual’s first European road trip. Ettore Messina’s team beat a Barça side that gave away too much ball and failed to gain control of the rebounds.

Much precipitation

CSKA_FCB_2.JPGThe first period featured imprecision from both teams. CSKA made an intense start but missed key shots. Only Lithuanian Siskauskas and Dane Andersen seemed able to collect points, while two three pointers shot by Jaka Lakovic kept the visitors in touch. It was 13-10 as the period drew to a close but late Russian scores ended things at 16-11.

Goree and Andersen into fray

The home side scored six straight to start the second, Goree the master of the rebounds and Siskauskas getting points to make it 22-13. It was Ersan Ilyasova who did the most to solidify the Barça defence and from his entry Barcelona started crawling their way back into things.

Some class playmaking by Pepe Sánchez pulled AXA Barça bask to within three (26-23) as half time approached. CSKA were taking too many risks with the three and dropping chances because of it, but their biggest boost came when a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct was given against Pepe Sánchez. They commanded the final minutes of the half with seven in a row to leave things at 32-25.

Barça keep pressure on

CSKA_FCB_1.JPGFour straight turnovers against Barça gave CSKA their big chance as the third period got under way. Six straight points gave them a 13 point advantage (38-25). Barça were struggling to contain CSKA’s dominance of offensive rebounds but two threes from Grimau and Basile kept them in it, followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct foul against Khryapa on Pepe Sánchez. The third period ended with Barça still in touch (48-43).

On comes Papaloukas

Papaloukas and Andersen returned to the team in the final period. The Dane continued to cause danger all over the court and caught a series of crucial rebounds. Greek player Papaloukas, until then having a quiet game, found his touch when it was most needed, scoring seven almost consecutive points as the score moved to 63-51. Barça looked tired and the home side never looked like allowing the gap to close. It all ended 72-55 as Barça now go 1-1 in the Euroleague Top 16.
Match stats
Axa FC Barcelona: Lakovic (11), Basile (5), Grimau (7), Vázquez (2), Marconato –cinco inicial-, Sánchez (5), Ilyasova (6), Kasun (7), Neal (-), Acker (4) and Trias (2).

Partials: 16-11 / 16-14 / 16-18 / 24-12

Referees: Voreadis (GRE), Jovcic (SER) and Sahin (TUR).

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