Obradovic’s Fenerbahçe Ülker clinches prestige victory against Barcelona in Euroleague
Zeljko Obradovic knocked out last-season's finalist Barcelona for his second Euroleague game on Fenerbahçe's bench. AFP photoUnder the helm of the legendary Serbian coach Zeljko Obradovic, Fenerbahçe Ülker has passed its first serious test against FC Barcelona, edging the Euroleague finalist with 75-70 at the Ülker Arena in Istanbul. The Yellow Canaries managed to negate their rival’s comeback attempts in the second quarter, moving to the top spot of Group A with two wins while Barcelona dropped to 1-1.
The Lithuanian star forward Linas Kleiza scored 22 points, well-assisted by the Croatian duo Luka Zoric and Bojan Bogdanovic, who netted 12 and 11 points respectively. Playmaker Bo McCalebb added 10 points and dished out four assists for Fenerbahçe.
The Catalans iconic Juan Carlos Navarro led his side once again with 18 points. Ante Tomic netted 16 points and Maciej Lampe added 13 for the visitors.
Fenerbahçe started to build its lead from the first quarter with Zoric and Kleiza’s domination of the painted area. The Lithuanian continued his destructive work in the second quarter to forge a comfortable 44-35 lead at the break.
Barcelona, however, jumped back on the hardwood in the third quarter with other ideas, as Navarro and Lampe combined to quickly melt the difference to two. With 46-44 on the scoreboard, Fenerbahçe built a 14-0 run to restore the double digit lead. Barça however was far from having the last word and activated Kostas Papanikolau to bring the game back to 72-70 with 20 seconds left. The second comeback of the game also stopped short and Fenerbahçe added three more points to seal the victory.
The Yellow Canaries will now visit CSKA Moscow next week. The Russian powerhouse knocked out Budivelnik Kiev with 72-67 and is the second of the group with two wins. Barcelona will host the French side JSF Nanterre.
In Group B, Anadolu Efes brought a 76-66 victory from the court of the other French side engaged in the Euroleague competition, Strasbourg. The Blues secured the difference built in the first half to cruise for a second consecutive victory. Scotty Hopson led his team with 20 points while another new recruit, Zoran Planinic netted 15 points. Alexis Ajinca’s 18 points were not enough for Strasbourg which dropped to 0-2 in the group. Anadolu Efes will travel to Germany next week to play against Brose Basket Bamberg, while the other favorites of the group Real Madrid will host Emporio Armani Milano.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich earned a surprising victory over Montepaschi Siena 89-79, Panathinaikos comfortably defeated Laboral Kutxa 95-74, Unicaja Malaga demolished Stelmet Zielona Gora 101-68 and Partizan Belgrade dwarfed JSF Nanterre 73-43.