The fourth quarter-final of this year’s NBA 2K19 Gaming Tournament played host to a Premier League London derby as Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi came up against West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini.
The pair were in fine spirits ahead of the contest, sharing a sportsman-like handshake before the match, however the pre-match formalities were soon forgotten as Lanzini, playing as the Milwaukee Bucks, had a foul harshly given against him. This led to a sparky beginning to the match, with the pair exchanging scores to tie 4-4 in the first quarter.
The game was evenly poised going into halftime with Mustafi, playing as the Los Angeles Lakers, taking a narrow 13-11 lead into the break. Mustafi told host Bruce Bowen that he felt he was clearly the better player, but needed to be more clinical with his shooting.
A fired-up Lanzini missed a crucial free throw early in the second half, failing to close the gap on the German, who subsequently led 23-15. Despite a late surge, Mustafi held on to give the Lakers a comfortable 26-18 win, sending his Argentine rival home. The German will come up against England rugby union star Anthony Watson in the semi-final of the tournament.
After the game, Mustafi said “we started the game a little bit slow, but when my team came into the dressing room I found the right words. I said ‘just give the ball to LeBron and we’ll be fine!”
A frustrated Lanzini blamed his players for the defeat, claiming “they did not listen to my tactics!”