FC Barcelona v Real Madrid: Late drama ends in disappointment (71-77)

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid: Late drama ends in disappointment (71-77)

Barça have missed out on their 24th Spanish Cup title after losing today's final in the Canary Islands

The Gran Canaria Arena was the venue for a nervously tight Copa del Rey final between Barça and Real Madrid. It went right down to the wire, and with Ante Tomic (25 points) in stunning form, the Catalans had the win in their grasp, but the balance was finally tipped the other way.

Both sides know each other to perfection, and things got off to a cautious start, with simple chances going amiss at both ends of the court. Barça were struggling with the man-marking being employed to such strong effect against them and were lucky that Madrid’s shooting was so poor, or they could have fallen much further behind than 13-15. A couple of late threes from Abrines and a score from Doellman then put Barça ahead at the end of the first period (21-18).

Tomic leads the way

The second half got off to a slow start for Barça, and Madrid were soon back in front. The half progressed with neither side ever going more than one point ahead, with Tomic producing the standout performance. The Croatian was a huge force on the paint, and ended the first half with 13 points.

Barça then established the first meaningful lead of the game (42-35) but Madrid responded with a 6-0 streak to end the half just one behind (42-41).

Satoransky’s marking kept Llull out of most of the game, but Rudy Fernández stepped into his shoes to make the difference instead. The third half was his, but some fine defending from Barça kept things under control, and the Catalans could feel disappointed not to be leading going into the final period when Nocioni grabbed a late 3-pointer (53-53).

Dramatic end

A better return than 4/26 in Barça 3-pointers would surely have told a different story, but instead it was Madrid who looked to be heading for victory following their 1-10 streak. But then astonishing triple from Navarro was the spark that got Barça back in contention and with one minute left, it was all square. The nail-biting finish saw Reyes and Rodríguez both score baskets for Madrid, whereupon it became clear that Barça would be returning from the Canary Islands empty-handed.

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