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PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

Barça Regal lost its first Top-16 match of the season this evening. The men led by Xavi Pascual, who trailed their Russian counterparts for most of the match, felt the absence of Juan Carlos Navarro and were denied their sixth consecutive win on the road in the Euroleague. In fact, Khimki, who remain undefeated at home, handed Barça Regal it’s first defeat on the road this season.

Equal at the start

The match got off to a slow start. With long possessions and low filed-goal accuracy, Pete Mickeal led the Blaugrana in the opening minutes. Zoran Planinic, who brilliantly led the home team, forced two personal fouls on Víctor Sada in the opening seven minutes. Two consecutive overturns from the Blaugrana gave the Russians a small lead. Barça Regal, through Ingles, fought back to keep Khimki within striking distance. The end of the first quarter came with 21-18 on the scoreboard.

Saras and Tomic to the rescue

The first five minutes of the second quarter saw Barça Regal score only four points. Khimki took advantage of the slow Blaugrana start and they took their lead to +9 (38-29). Good performances from Jasikevicius and Tomic, however, kept Barça Regal in the game. The problem was on defence as Planinic (8 points at the half) and Zhukanenko (10 points) kept the Blaugrana at arms length. At the half, Khimki led by 46 to 41.

The Russians open up their lead

Just like in the second quarter, the third started off in the same fashion for Pascual’s men. A 5-0 run gave the Russians at 10-point lead (51-41) and Barça Regal watched as the distance between them and their counterparts grew as time ticket off the clock. Khimki extended their advantage to 14 points, that’s when Pete Mickeal stepped up to lead his team’s reaction. The Barça Regal player helped his team to a 0-7 run to bring the score to 62-55.

No option of winning

Same story, different quarter. Another slow start from Barça Regal, in the form of a 8-0 run for the home team, killed off any chance of a Blaugrana comeback. With 7 minutes to go, Khimki enjoyed a 15-point lead. Huertas and Mickeal tried their best to carry the team but it was too late, Barça Regal return from Moscow with their first defeat in the Top-16.

MATCH FACTS

Khimki, 78
Barça Regal, 65

Khimki (21+25+16+16): Planinic (16), Loncar (3), Monia (3), Vyaltsev (4), Augustine (7) (starting five), Koponen (9), Fridzon (13), Rivers (3), Zhukanenko (10), Davis (10), Nielsen.

Barça Regal (18+23+14+10): Sada, Ingles (8), Mickeal (14), Lorbek (12), Tomic (16) (starting five), Huertas (8), Jawai, Jasikevicius (6), Wallace (1).

Referee: Ziemblicki, Gkontas and Chiari.

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