CSKA de Moscou (19+16+13+12): Teodosic (12), Ponkrashov (9), Weems (4), Khryapa (6), Kaun (4) -starting five- Krstic (18), Jackson (1), Micov (2), Vorontsevich (4), Christmas and Nicholas.
FC Barcelona Regal (17+21+25+18): Huertas (12), Navarro (21), Mickeal (2), Lorbek (15), Tomic (6) -starting five- Ingles (4), Sada (7), Jawai (10), Jasikevicius, Wallace (4), Rabaseda and Todorovic.
Referees: Carl Jungebrand (FIN), Eddie Viator (FRA) and Damir Javor (SLO).
This Thursday’s match in Moscow was only the first installment of what this edition of the Euroleague has in store. Two of the favoured teams to claim the title in May went head to head this afternoon in Week 5 of the European competition. The newly renovated Barça Regal and CSKA Moscow sides are two powerful teams that have yet to hit their full potential. The match this Thursday saw Barça Regal put a halt to the Russian team’s 14-match winning streak and claimed the top spot of Group D.
Xavi Pascual’s men played a serious match, possibly the best this season, and secured a prestigious victory in Moscow. The Blaugrana manager bested Messina - his record against the Russian team’s manager stands at 12 to 3 - in his 100th Euroleague match.
Good first half for Barça Regal
A recovered and motivated Pete Mickeal was named to the Barça’s starting team, along with Marcelinho, Navarro, Lorbek and Tomic. The Catalans were concentrated from the get go, offering up a solid defence at the back and devastating accuracy at the other end of the court. The combination allowed the visiting team stay within striking distance of their opponents. The first substitutions weren’t long in coming as both Pascual and Messina were quick to showcase the depth of their squads. At the end of the first quarter the scoreboard at the Megasport arena reflected a narrow 19-17 lead for the home team. Lorbek finished the quarter with nine points, making him the highest scorer in the opening 10 minutes of the match.
Both defences ratcheted up their intensity in the second quarter. Mickeal and Jawai took over from Lorbek on offence but the Australian pivot was made to return to the bench after a quick third personal foul. The always electric and decisive Jackson took control of CSKA as the home team jumped to a four-point advantage halfway through the second quarter (28-24). However, a three-pointer from Navarro and personal foul on Wallace gave the Blaugrana to take the lead (28-30). Marcelinho, Sada and Navarro brought balance to Barça Regal’s perimeter play which allowed the visiting team to go to the break with a three-point lead (35-38).
Extraordinary third quarter
Pascual’s men started the second half with ambition while CSKA focused on dominating possession in the paint through Nenad and Krstic. Barça Regal took a 44-52 lead, forcing Messina to call timeout. Navarro and Marcelinho made it 44-56 and leaving the Russian side in a daze for the rest of the quarter. The Blaugrana finished off their extraordinary third period outscoring the Russian side by 13 to 25 (48-63).
Exhibition to close out the match
CSKA tried to react in the final 10 minutes of the match but Barça Regal squashed the attempted comeback. Pascual’s men managed to contain players like Weems, Krstic and Christmas to sub-par performances. The Blaugrana were solid on defence and lethal on going forward. In fact, the Catalans managed to keep the Russians to only 60 points while Barça Regal scored 81.