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07.05.2010 19:40

Barça book European final place (64-54)

Jordi Clos

Barça Regal recorded a glorious victory in their first Final Four game on Friday in Paris against CSKA Moscow to reach the final, where they will take on either Partisan or Olympiacos, as they held out in the fourth quarter.

Xavi Pascual's team will play in the final for the first time since 2003 having beaten the Russian giants by ten points after an impressive late surge in the Palais Omnisport. Ricky Rubio, Erazem Lorbek and Fran Vázquez were the stars for Barça as they helped the Catalan team to gain revenge for defeat at the same stage of this competition by CSKA last term. With a defence that was at their best the Liga ACB side held out against a team that have reached the final of the Euroleague for each of the last four campaigns.

Early comeback

Rubio scored ten points and recorded eight assists in a game that saw the scores remain tight until the last quarter when the Blaugrana were finally able to move clear and create a gap which their opponents were unable to bridge. With pressure and nerves high on both sides Barça's first four triple attempts produced no points and CSKA were able to charge into a 2-9 lead. Pascual was forced to address certain concerns and that appeared to have the desired result as after eight minutes his side were back to within a point of their opponents and then took the lead, 12-11, moments before the end of the quarter.

Remarkable run

The second quarter saw an even more remarkable run from Barça as they scored ten unanswered points and from then on the Russian opposition were not to overtake them again. The Blaugrana have already made history with 11 appearances in the Euroleague's Final Four and they showed just why they have been tipped as one of the favourites this season to add to their only previous European triumph in 2003. CSKA may have played in the last eight Final Four events, but they were not to reach another final as Vázquez produced a starring performance with 11 points, while Navarro netted 10 and Lorbek managed seven points and nine rebounds against his former team.

Laying the foundations

In the third quarter saw Barça hold onto their advantage and lay the foundations for a strong finish to the game. CSKA did move to within four of their opponents but Navarro pushed the Blaugrana forward once again with a triple and while Siskauskas did net again, Rubio then sank another three-pointer. With a six-point lead at the end of the third quarter it was down to the Russians to make the play.


Make the play they certainly did early on in the last period and they were just three points from barça at 46-43 which was the closest scoreline since the break. That led Pascual to call for a time-out and the break took the wind out of CSKA's sails. An alle-oop which Rubio set-up for Vázquez to net was the highlight as Barça moved clear once more. Rubio then assisted Lorbek for another triple and the Catalan side were eight ahead with 74 seconds left on the clock. A late flurry saw Barça move ten points ahead and president Joan Laporta was courtside to celebrate with the players at the final hooter.

Barça book European final place (64-54)

Regal FCB: Basile, Trias, Rubio (10), Lakovic (3), Navarro (10), Vázquez (11), Ndong (9), Morris (2), Sada, Lorbek (7), Mickeal (8) and Grimau (4).

CSKA: Kurbanov, Smodis, Siskauskas (19), Holden (7), Mensah-Bonsu, Ponkrashov (2), Voronsevich, Langdon (12), Kaun (9), Sokolov, Khryapa (5) and Planinic.

Partials: 12-11 / 17-10 / 18-20 / 17-13

Referees: Brazauskas, Christodoulou and Chambon

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