The Euroleague tightens

The defeat of Bayern extends the fight for the quarters to five teams for three places. Madrid lost, but still depends on itself thanks to Zenit's stumble.


Real Madrid kept the pulse against the Turkish ogre for almost three quarters, even leading at halftime (42-41), until Pablo Laso unleashed his fury over the refereeing decisions and Efes unleashed his scoring power without mercy. The white team, which had stood upright against one of the great favorites for the title, collapsed after the expulsion of its coach until they suffered a beating (83-108) that does not fully reflect what had happened on the track. Before Laso's departure, another event had occurred that conditioned the outcome of the match as much or more: the injury of Edy Tavares in the 21st minute, with a tie (44-44) on the scoreboard. This Madrid suffers a lot without its reference on the track. Efes is the top candidate to win the Euroleague, along with Barça and perhaps CSKA, so the defeat was in the forecast, but that does not make it less painful or less important. Madrid is still in trouble, up to that eighth place that closes the border of the quarters. In the absence of two games, three for some affected, the accounts still come out, but by the hair.

Parallel to the white stumble there was another result that may end up being decisive. Or not. Zenit fell to CSKA, which still allows Madrid to dictate its own destiny. If he wins the two remaining games, against Olympiacos and Fenerbahçe, he will qualify for the playoffs, regardless of what his rivals do and the multiple draws that may occur in the table. If you lose one, the cabals get very complicated. The defeat of Bayern Munich has introduced one more player, and what used to be two places for four teams, Baskonia, Valencia, Madrid and Zénit, are now three places for five. Baskonia, by the way, continue their impressive run after defeating Panathinaikos on Tuesday: nine wins in ten games. The fight is tightening.

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