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07.05.2010 10:40

Regal FCB-CSKA: the moment we’ve all be waiting for

Sònia de Alba (Enviada especial)

The Euroleague Final Four opens this afternoon with the first semi final between Regal Barca and CSKA Moscow – the game Xavi Pascual’s team have worked so hard to reach.

At 18.30 this evening in the first test of their bid to become European champions, Regal Barca go up against last year’s finalists CSKA who are making their eighth successive appearance in the Final Four.

Long trip to Final Four

2010-05-07_ENTRENAMIENTO_REGAL_FCB_004.jpgIt’s been a long trip from the team’s first game away to Fenerbahçe Ulker, to the Final Four in Paris, but Xavi Pascual’s team have been the clear stars of the competition so far with just two defeats (the controversial loss against Partizan and the second game in the play offs against Real Madrid) and they now find themselves just two games away from taking the European crown.

The message from the camp has been to take it each game at a time and focus purely on CSKA right now. The preparation for the semi final has been as thorough as always and together with the confidence of their fantastic season so far, the team will go into the game full of hope. Xavi Pascual has the additional boost of knowing that his complete squad is fit and available for this semi final.

The Rival

2010-05-06_RP_FINAL_FOUR_2010_022.jpgCSKA Moscow are again in the Final Four – a stage they’ve not failed to reach since 2002. Although they have changed their coach, with ex-player Evgeny Pashutin taking over from Messina, the switch has gone smoothly and they have dominated the domestic scene winning the regular season and the Russian Cup.

Their three exterior stars- John Robert Holden, North American guard Trajan Langdon who’s in his fourth season at the club and the Lithuanian forward Ramunas Siskauskas, who is one of the best, if not the best, in his position in Europe and the strong bench of ex TAU man Zoran Planinic, the Russinas Viktor Krhyapa, Sasha Kaun and Andrey Vorontsevich, and the ex Penya Pops Mensah-Bonsu give CSKA a very strong squad.

Pre match reactions

Xavi Pascual, coach Regal FC Barcelona

“We always try to prepare meticulously and ensure we prepare correctly and we also look at what every player can bring, so that we are totally prepared to go into the game”.

2010-05-06_RP_FINAL_FOUR_2010_013.jpg“CSKA are a very difficult rival. It’s virtually impossible to put them out of a game. We have to know when are the right moments to go for it, but whenever they face a critical situation, they seem to bring some other player on – they have a lot of experience. That’s why it’ll be 40 minutes of struggle. Every attack, every action in defence every ball, every pass, block, rebound could all be decisive. If we want to win, we have to be totally focussed for the whole 40 minutes”.

Evgeny Pashutin, coach CSKA

“We know how to play these games and how to give our best, despite the pressure. In big games like this, experience is important and we have been through this before and we know how to control a game. It will be a titanic struggle and we will have to be at our best in defence and control game time. It’ll be a very, very, tough game if we don’t do that”.
Regal FCB-CSKA: the moment we’ve all be waiting for

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