EA7 Milano defeated Fenerbahce 82-73 in Istanbul in a Euroleague Top 16 match surrounded with controversy.
The Italian side qualified the previous day without even playing are in second place in Group E on a 9-3 record, while Fenerbahce drop to 5-7 and now need to win their remaining games in the Top 16.
David Moss led Milano with 15 points with Bojan Bogdanovic leading all scorers in vain for the hosts with 24 points.
The controversy began in the third quarter when Spanish official Juan Carlos Arteaga began calling what Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic believed to be mysterious calls. After pleading his case, Arteaga gave him a technical, and then within seconds another one, which ejected the Serbian tactician.
Arteaga’s appointment of this game came days after he publically admitted to being offered money to rig a professional basketball game, without telling the authorities. The spotlight was sure to be on him during this game but his decision-making left a lot to be desired in the eyes of the Fenerbahce coach.
The visitors didn’t seem to mind though, as they kept their composure and secured a valuable victory.
” At the beginning of the Top 16, we were not the favorites of the group,” Milano coach Luca Banchi explained. “We had no credit at first. But we started to play better match by match. We showed our real character. We especially challenged extremely well tonight. I’m really satisfied with the performance of my players. We remained calm and played smart in a very tough atmosphere. We kept our aggressiveness despite the pressure. Fenerbahce challenged to comeback. But we kept calm and managed to win with our talent.”
Barcelona extended their Top 16 streak to 12-0 this season and to 24-0 overall as they defeated Panathinaikos 84-62 in the Catalan capital.
The Liga Endesa side have now sealed first place in Group E with this win while the Greens drop to 6-6, tied for third place with bitter rivals Olympiacos. The two Greek heavyweights meet on the final game night of the Top 16 in what could prove to be a vital clash.
Erazem Lorbek and Alex Abrines led Barca with 15 points each.
Lokomotiv Kuban went to third place with Galatasaray in Group F as they downed Partizan 84-73 in Krasnodar.
Derrick Brown led the Russian side with 18 points on 6/6 shooting as they improve to 6-6, while Partizan is all but eliminated as they drop to 3-9.