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Hezonja one of the stars of the show / VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

Barça needed to beat Real Madrid by 25 points or more to take away top spot in their top 16 Euroleague group. That was the main interest in the Palau on Thursday with Xavi Pascual’s side putting in a tremendous performance to win 85-80 with top spot in the group to be decided in the next and final game of this current phase of the competition.

The Palau was full and Barça began energetically, not lacking in motivation. The two teams traded early blows before a run of 7 points without reply allowed Real Madrid to take a dangerous 25-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter Barça played tough on defence with Lampe leading the fightback. However, Sergio Rodríguez was in fine form for Madrid as the visitors maintained their lead at 34-28.

Hezonja show

Xavi Pascual made one or two tactical changes and Barça’s fortunes prospered. Hezonja made an appearance and two great three pointers saw the blaugranes take the lead at 40-38, only for Madrid to come back and level things up at 41 a piece at half time. In the second half the home side were more fluent and Tomic came to the fore. Hezonja kept up the pace and Barça led 62-53. Madrid came back once again to set up a thrilling finale at 78 all. Xavi Pascual’s team held their nerve better in the final minutes to take a 85-80 win and set up a final round of matches in which the leadership of the group will be decided by Barça’s trip to Galatarasay and Madrid’s home game against Zalgiris.

MATCH STATS

FC BARCELONA, 85
R. MADRID, 80

FC Barcelona: Satoransky (5), Navarro (6),Thomas (7), Nachbar (6) and Tomic (8) –starting five-, Hezonja (15), Huertas, Abrines (5), Oleson (12), Pleiss (9) and Lampe (12).

R. Madrid: Llull (8), Carroll (4), Fernández (20), Reyes (8) and Ayón (10) –starting five-, Rivers, Nocioni (8), Maciulis (1), Rodríguez (17), Bourossis and Slaughter (4).

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