It was 15 years ago when Real Madrid participated in Euroleague Final Four last time. In 1995 Real Madrid defeated Olympiacos 73-61 in Zaragoza to claim their 8th continental title. Spanish giants will have a chance to battle for Euroleague trophy again after defeating Valencia 3-2 in quarter-finals.
Since arriving to Valencia Svetislav Pesic has revived the team. Legendary coach led the team to Top 16 to surprise quite a few basketball experts.
However, Pesic wasn’t going to be satisfied with bringing his team among 16 best teams in Europe. Eurocup champions managed to reach the quarter-finals taking Real Madrid to five game series and were very close to qualifying for their first ever Euroleague Final Four.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, saw Ettore Messina leaving the team right before the quarter-finals. The pressure was put on his assistant Emanuele Molin who managed to get the job done.
Valencia visited Caja Magica after losing Game 4 at home. The visitors were determined to send Real Madrid to an early knock-down after as they led 11-4 midway through the first quarter thanks to 9 points from Dusko Savanovic.
Carlos Suarez responded with 7 points for Real Madrid but that wasn’t enough as Valencia was in front 17-11 after a low scoring first quarter.
The pace of the game changed in the second period as the game became more open. Clay Tucker nailed three three-pointers to keep Real Madrid close to the visitors. Despite losing the second quarter by four points Valencia left the court for the locker room with a 2-point lead in hand.
The third quarter started with a three-pointer from Carlos Suaroz as Real took the lead for the first time in the game. Dusko Savanovic was working hard for Valencia keeping Real Madrid within the arm’s reach.
The hosts had more attacking options especially in their front court taking 17 offensive rebounds against only 7 made by Valencia. Robertas Javtokas wasn’t able to help much on that regards after getting in the foul trouble early in the game.
Valencia was under pressure as the fourth quarter started with Real Madrid holding a rather comfortable seven-point lead for this game. Even though the visitors narrowed the gap to just four points with two minutes to play, that wasn’t enough as Real Madrid held their nerves to reach a historic Final Four qualification.
They will take on Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague semi-final in Barcelona.
Real Madrid – 66 – (11+29+18+8): Carlos Suarez 12, Clay Tucker 12, Ante Tomic 9, Felipe Reyes 7, Nikola Mirotic 7, Pablo Prigioni 6, D’Or Fischer 4.
Valencia – 58 – (17+25+9+7): Dusko Savanovic 19, Rafa Martinez 16, Jeremy Richardson 6, Nando De Colo 6, Robertas Javtokas 3, David Navarro 2.