Fenerbahçe sole Turkish side in Final Four after Madrid beats Efes
AA PhotoFenerbahçe Ülker will represent Turkey in the prestigious Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four after Istanbul’s Anadolu Efes bowed to Real Madrid late on April 23 in the fourth game of the match up at home, mainly due to a strong Spanish performance in the last period.
Real Madrid, which suffered a last second loss in Game 3, finally ran away from Efes 63-76, matching up with Fenerbahçe in the first game of the Final Four while CSKA Moscow will face Olympiacos at the start of the top tournament to be held May 14 to 17 in Madrid.
Rudy Fernandez hit a pair of threes in the final minute to close out a game that practically lasted three and a half quarters. He shouldered Madrid with 17 points, while Sergio Llull added 14 points and 5 assists. Sergio Rodriguez, Jaycee Carroll and Felipe Reyes also netted double digits.
A 16-point performance by Nenad Krstic failed to keep Efes alive into the last minutes of the game, while Dario Saric’s 9 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists were also not enough.
“We fought really hard from the beginning until the end. Anadolu Efes also did the same,” said Real coach Pablo Laso after the game. “They performed extremely well on defense all series. We moved the ball really well on offense and made the right choices in the second half. This was the key for the win.”
The coach avoided further comments on the upcoming Fenerbahçe battle.
“For us, it was very important to play in the Final Four at home. It’s our third Final Four in a row and we’ll try to be in the final game again,” said Real forward Rudy Fernandez.
Experienced Efes coach Dusan Ivkovic expressed his respect for the winning side. “The team who played better in the series won the series,” the coach said, highlighting that the rivals had the chance to use 18 more offenses than his Efes.
In the most dramatic of endings, Olympiacos Piraeus won two games at home by a total of five points to oust favored FC Barcelona with dramatic flair, as a three-pointer from Georgios Printezis won Game 4 on the buzzer 71-68 and sent the Reds back to the Final Four after a one-year absence following their back-to-back titles.