Fenerbahçe builds momentum with win in Greece
Fenerbahce Ülker’s David Andersen goes for basket as BC Khimki’s players try to stop him during their Euroleague basketball match at the Ülker Arena Sports Hall in Istanbul. AFP photoAfter ending a four-game losing streak, Fenerbahçe Ülker hopes to build on its momentum when it takes on Olympiacos in the Euroleague Top 16 tonight.
Another Turkish team, Beşiktaş, will also be playing tonight, meeting Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, chasing its first win in the stage.
Fenerbahçe’s visit to Piraeus is promising an intriguing challenge, as in all meetings between Turkish and Greek teams.
Fenerbahçe Ülker snapped a four-game slide with a home win over BC Khimki, and finally got its first win of the stage.
The Reds are coming off a tough road win at Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, which boosted their record to 2-3 in Group F.
Mantzaris out with injury
Olympiacos lost point guard Vangelos Mantzaris to a knee injury this weekend and Acie Law may not be back yet from a head injury, which places more responsibility on the shoulders of team leader Vassilis Spanoulis.
Fenerbahçe Ülker guard Romain Sato is sure that the game will pose a tough challenge.
“Olympiacos is going to try to fight like us so it’s not going to be easy. Especially over there it’s going to be crazy,” the Central African, who has spent two seasons with Olympiacos’ fierce rivals Panathinaikos, said to the Euroleague website. “If we want to change anything and turn the season around we need to win this kind of game on the road. Its going to be a tough game.”
For Beşiktaş, tonight’s game against Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv will be test where the two teams are fighting to bounce back from the bottom spot.
Seeking first victory
Beşiktaş is looking for its first Top 16 win, but Maccabi has a 1-4 record and needs to bounce back from consecutive losses. These teams have never faced each other in European competitions, which adds even more anticipation to this critical, exciting showdown.
Maccabi’s only win on this stage came against Fenerbahçe Ülker, and guard Lior Eliyahu says that the Israeli side is wary of the Beşiktaş threat.
“The fact that Beşiktaş hasn’t won yet in the Top 16 is to our disadvantage,” he said. “I don’t like playing against teams that are battling for their lives, because in my opinion they’re more dangerous. We need to focus on our own game and what we need to do to win, in all of the games we have left. The only way we’ll move up is by winning.”
Also in the Group F, Barcelona Regal, who is on a 4-1 record, hosts Montepaschi Siena, who leads the group with five wins.
In the Group E, Real Madrid (5-0) hosts CSKA Moscow (4-1) in the big game of the night and Zalgiris Kaunas hosts Alba Berlin in a game between two clubs with 1-4 records.