Galatasaray deals big punch to CSKA

Galatasaray deals big punch to CSKA

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray deals big punch to CSKA

Galatasaray guard Ender Arslan (R) drives to the basket as CSKA stars Andrei Kirilenko (C) and Nenad Krstic try to defend. DHA photo

A boisterous crowd supported Galatasaray Medical Park to an unforgettable victory Feb. 8, as the Lions became the first team to beat CSKA Moscow in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this season.

The Istanbul side beat the previously-unbeaten Russians 68-64 in front of about 11,000 fans at the Abdi İpekçi Arena in Group E of the Top 16 stage.

With the win, Galatasaray are now tied with Olympiacos with a 2-2 winning record, while CSKA Moscow remained on top with 3-1.

Another Turkish team in the group, Anadolu Efes, remained in fourth spot with one win in four matches. The win meant the end of CSKA’s 13-match winning streak and its title as the only unbeaten team in the top-level European club competition.

“It’s amazing, beating a team like CSKA here, it’s great,” guard Ender Arslan told Turkey’s NTV Spor after the game. “We believed we had a chance after [last week’s] defeat in Russia. There were times when we were good then. If we played like that for 40 minutes, we believed we could win. It was very tough but we won with the support of the fans. The crowd was amazing.”

Joshua Shipp led the scoring with 22 points, while center Luksa Andric added 16 for Galatasaray.
“Maybe we did not play at our best, but we fought until the very last second, which we always promise,” said an emotional Cevher Özer, who scored nine points in the game. “We will keep battling until the very end as long as those fans are behind us.”

Galatasaray fans unfurled a gigantic banner before the game with an illustration of their players dominating the game, in front of a baby-like Andrei Kirilenko and a bruised Milos Teodosic.

CSKA used an 11-0 run in which Ramunas Siskauskas struck twice from downtown to take a 26-20 lead midway through the second quarter. CSKA boosted its winning margin to 45-35 after the break, but Andric and an unstoppable Josh Shipp led a 16-5 run that put the hosts back ahead, 51-50.

It all came down to the final minute, when Milos Teodosic brought CSKA to within 66-63. Teodosic missed a couple of key free throws with 10 seconds to go and Shipp rounded off a great individual performance with the game-clinching foul shots down the stretch.

“I can’t say we played bad, but the key point is that Galatasaray wanted to win more than we did,” CSKA coach Jonas Kazlauskas said. “That brings the glory to them.”

Galatasaray coach, Oktay Mahmuti, was asked if the team could go all the way to the Final Four, which will be held in Istanbul in May. “We are aware of our deficiencies but we are afraid of no one,” he said in the post-match press conference. “I can’t say we can or can’t reach Final Four now. But I will be the one to blame if we cannot make it.”

Before the game, it was announced that Galatasaray fans had been chosen as the “craziest” fan base in the competition. Ender agreed, saying: “We showed one more time that with the crazy support of the best fans in Europe, there is no team that we cannot beat.”

Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe Ülker (1-3) lost 72-62 to defending champion Panathinaikos (3-1) and slipped to fourth spot in Group G.