FIBA

Serbia will be looking to make it lucky 13 in Istanbul as they now take aim for a fourth gold medal.

Led by 24 points from main talisman Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia survived a late charge from Russia to secure an 87-79 win in the second Eurobasket semi-final on Friday.

Serbia, who will play their first Eurobasket final since 2009 will face first-time finalists Slovenia on Sunday.

Boban Marjanovic added 18 points on 70 percent shooting and Vladimir Lucic amassed 13 to go along with eight rebounds for the winners.

But they were made to sweat in the closing minute by a stubborn Russia side who refused to quit, and led by Alexey Shved, staged a furious fightback that ultimately fell short.

The Serbs looked home and dry with 1:45 remaining as a three from Bogdanovic looked to be the final nail in the coffin. But Russia were not ready to fade quietly and duly responded with 31 seconds left as a triple from Shved, who hit a game-high 33 points gave his side hope, but Serbia remained calm and iced the game with back-to-back free throws as their counterparts became desperate and had to foul in order to salvage anything from the game.

Alexey Shved did his best with a game-high 33 points but despite a vastly improved Eurobasket showing, Russia will have to settle for the 3rd/4th place game against Spain on Sunday. Photo: FIBA

Instead, Russia will have to settle for the bronze medal where Spain awaits them on Sunday afternoon.

But for Serbia, they exacted their revenge for the earlier defeat to the Russians during the group phase to reach the finale and overall were the better team on the night. After taking a 25-20 advantage after the first quarter, they saw their lead peak at 16 points as they held Russia to just nine points in the first six minutes of the second period.

Serbia led 48-34 at the half, and even though Russia started the third brightly, a three by Bogdanovic restored dominance just two minutes into the quarter. But the re-energised Russians regrouped and they hit back midway through the third as a dunk from Timofey Mozgov and a three from Andrey Vorontsevich reduced the deficit to 57-52, which forced the Serbians to call a timeout.

And true to the nature of the game, Serbia had their spell and a dunk from 7’4″ big man Boban Marjanovic restored their double-digit lead at 62-52 with 2:14 of the third remaining.

It was there that Russia began to fade slowly. They started making minor errors on defence and showed slight fatigue. Serbia never seemed to relinquish their advantage or even show weakness and despite a desperate last attempt from the Russians, the result never looked in doubt.

Photo: FIBA