Efes takes tough test at Olympiacos

Efes takes tough test at Olympiacos

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Efes takes tough test at Olympiacos

Anadolu Efes’ Esteban Batista (15) looks after making a layup to the basket as CSKA Moscow’s Ramunas Siskauskas stands behind him during the two teams’ Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 match in Moscow. AP photo

Anadolu Efes will try to get one over its Greek rival Olympiacos in a Turkish Airlines Euroleague match tonight.

Two classic Turkish Airlines Euroleague squads meet in a pivotal showdown in the Group E of the Top 16 stage in this game.

Olympiacos will try to get its first win in the round and it needs to bounce back right away to keep its options alive, while Efes will be bidding for its second win in the group to take a giant step forward in the playoffs.

“We are going to play one of the most important away games,” Anadolu Efes coach Ufuk Sarıca was quoted as saying on the official Euroleague website. “We will have a great advantage if we win there. It will not be an easy game for either team. We want to clear our way ahead by winning.”

Efes has an edge over its Greek rivals recently, since it won four of its last five games in Pireaus but Olympiacos won the last showdown between the two teams.

Olympiacos could not survive a stern challenge at Galatasaray Medical Park last week, although it forced overtime in Istanbul. Kostas Sloukas hit a memorable buzzer-beater three-pointer from long range to tie the game, but the home team went on to win the game anyway to claim its first victory in the group.

Galatasaray will visit CSKA Moscow, the only unbeaten team of the group, tomorrow.

Efes will try to grab its fourth road win in this Euroleague season, but Olympiacos has the support of its home crowd in a must-win situation, which could make the difference.

“As every game in the Top 16, it will be a very important game,” Efes forward Dusko Savanovic said. “No time for calculations or thinking too much. If you wanna go further you have to win every game. In the first phase you can afford a loss but at this stage it’s impossible. We are going to Athens surely for a win. We will try to win there and will surprise them. I think we have the capacity and quality to do this.”

The Olympiacos vs. Efes game is one of three Euroleague fixtures tonight.

Russia’s Unics Kazan will try to maintain its winning streak when it hosts Italian EA7 Emporio Armani in a Group G game.

While Unics leads the group with two wins, Emporio is sitting on the bottom with two defeats. Turkey’s Fenerbahçe Ülker and Greek Panathinaikos are the other teams in the group and will try to get their second win when they face each other tomorrow in Istanbul.

The third game of the night is an all-Spanish match-up between Real Madrid and Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao. The two teams are placed second and third with one win each in Group F, behind leader Montepaschi Siena (2-0) and ahead of Unicaja (0-2).