Efes, Zalgiris play for group top spot

Efes, Zalgiris play for group top spot

Efes, Zalgiris play for group top spot

Anadolu Efes rallied to beat Spain’s Caja Laboral in the Euroleague last week. EPA photo

Anadolu Efes will try to take over Zalgiris Kaunas as the Group C leader when the two teams meet tonight in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

Efes, who has three wins in four matches, trail Zalgiris, hoping to end the Lithuanians’ perfect start to the top-level European club basketball competition.

“Zalgiris Kaunas, who won all its four games, is a team that deserves respect,” coach Oktay Mahmuti told the competition’s official website. “They have Lithuanian players who played abroad for years and plus they have very good foreign players which makes a strong roster. But we want to win this important game at our home court in front of our fans to stay at the top.”

Zalgiris and Efes gave not faced each other since the 1998-99 season, when the Lithuanians beat the Turkish giants to reach the Final Four, and eventually win the European title.

The game will also mark Zalgiris guards Marko Popovic and Oliver Lafayette to face their former clubs.

“We know it will be hard in Istanbul, because Efes plays really good at home,” Lafayette said. “They always will get big fan support, so it will be very difficult to win in Istanbul, but we will try.”

The game at the Abdi İpekçi Arena starts at 8:45 p.m. and will be live on NTV Spor.

Also in the Group C, Cedevita Zagreb seeks its first win against Caja Laboral, who won just one.