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20.03.2008 20:50

Into the quarter-finals! (64-62)

Carles Cascante

AXA Barça have qualified for the quarter-finals after beating CSKA 64-62 in the Palau Blaugrana. It was a pulsating encounter up to the last second.

AXA FC Barcelona are into the quarter-finals of the Euroleague. A nervous and tense Barcelona team overcame CSKA whose game echoed the words of their manager when he said last week that they weren’t coming here for a holiday. Maccabi will be the opposition in the quarter-final of Europe’s highest competition.

Stunning start

10-0 in the first five minutes set things up nicely for the azulgranas, but they were unable to maintain the frenetic pace for the rest of the quarter, which finished 15-16 for the Russians who had Theodoros Papaloukas to thank for turning the score round. Khryapa’s three-pointer was also a key element. The Barcelona game plan started well but things started to come undone as the game went on.

Same story

QM3D8405.jpgIn the second quarter things continued pretty equally and at half-time the score stood at 32-33. Basile didn’t add to the 6 points he scored in the first quarter but Alex Acker added four points to the three he scored in the first quarter to give himself a half-time tally of 7 points.

For the visitors, Andersen started slowly but Khryapa was the main threat and a three-pointer saw him go off at half-time with eight points. The ex-Chicago Bulls player put on a good performance in the Palau on his return to Europe. And so the second quarter closed with Ettore Messina’s side with only a one point lead (32-33).

Azulgrana reaction

The third quarter saw an exchange of three-pointers and Barcelona managing to turn things round and take a five point lead (50-45) going into the final stages of the quarter. At the end, though, the crowd were put through the emotional rollercoaster once again as Trajan Langon scored a three-pointer to make it (50-48).

Not for the weak-hearted

QM3D8174.jpgThe final moments of the game were not for the weak-hearted. For Barcelona, captain Roger Grimau stood out for his great attitude. Him and Jaka Lakovic, who was taking responsibility for main points scorer in the final period, took the initiative for Barcelona. But it was Ersan Ilyasova who was to ultimately decide the game. The Turk fought like never before. He was strong in defence, he rebounded like a giant and he used his pace to stifle Kryapa.

The last two minutes of the game, however, were an eternity. Lots of fouls, lots of interruptions and one cry of
Barça, Barça, Barça! By the Palau crowd who once again played their part in an epic encounter. Passage to the quarter-finals was a basic requirement in the sporting plans for this team and they have achieved it. Although CSKA were already qualified, they showed their quality throughout the game and credit to Barcelona for taking the game to them and succeeding.
Into the quarter-finals! (64-62)

AXA FC Barcelona: Lakovic (14), Basile (8), Acker (7), Vázquez (8), Marconato (7) -starting five-, Sánchez (2), Trias (3), Ilyasova (8), Kasun (1), Grimau (6).

CSKA Moscow: Holden (-), Langdon (12), Siskauskas (13), Andersen (6), Goree (2) -starting five-, Papaloukas (2), Zizis (1), Smodis (7), Van den Spiegel (6), Khryapa (13).

Partials: 15-16 / 17-17 / 18-15 / 14-14

Referees: Pitsilkas (GRE), Pilipauskas (LIT), Latisevs (LET).

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