Fener and Efes set to meet European giants

Fener and Efes set to meet European giants

Fener and Efes set to meet European giants

Efes will try to overturn a poor run against CSKA Moscow, having lost eight of the last nine meetings against the Russians. AA photo

Two Turkish teams will have a rough night as Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Ülker will meet solid sides in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.

Anadolu Efes visits CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahçe Ülker plays at FC Barcelona Regal in two meetings where Istanbul teams are set to meet title hopefuls in the Top 16 stage of the top-level club competition in European basketball.

Efes and CSKA meet in a meeting in the Group E.

CSKA was second in its regular season group, but tied for the best regular season record this season at 9-1. Efes finished third at 5-5 in the Group C.

The Russians have the upper hand over Efes, having won eight of the last nine showdowns between the two teams. Efes’ last win in Moscow came in the 1998-99 season with an epic 105-98 victory which came in double overtime.

The Istanbul side will need to stop Milos Teodosic, who dished 11 assists in each of his last two Euroleague home games. The Serbian player, who has long been criticized for not being a team player, has improved his overall performance this season.

However, Teodosic faces a tough defensive matchup against Jordan Farmar, whose driving skills and shooting range can change any game.

Tough task

Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti is aware that his team has a tough task tonight.

“We play against a good basketball team on their court,” he told the competition’s website. “In our first Top 16 game in Moscow against CSKA, we will try to limit their abilities and try to do our best to grab a win.”

CSKA also relies on a rock-solid frontcourt led by Viktor Khryapa and Nenad Krstic to make the difference in the paint. Efes will try to use the counter force of talented power forward Dusko Savanovic along with solid centers Semih Erden and Stanko Barac.

Fenerbahçe Ülker will also have a tough match in Barcelona in the Group F.

Barcelona entered the Top 16 with a 9-1 record, while Fenerbahçe had to wait until the final game to seal its ticket to this round. Barcelona has a clear domination against Fenerbahçe Ülker, having won all three previous meetings.

Fenerbahçe will try to stop Juan Carlos Navarro with veteran guard Ömer Onan, who can also offer his driving skills and scoring ability at the other end.

“It’s going to be a tough game, like any other game,” Fenerbahçe Ülker‘s superstar guard Bo McCalebb said. “We want to start off positive, on a good note. Barcelona is a great team, but we just have got to fight.

“Everyone knows Barcelona is a strong team, but we are not scared and we are going to go there to win.”