22 September 2012
Real Madrid have qualified for the final of the Endesa Super cup after defeating CAI Zaragoza, the tournament hosts, during a match in which they excelled in defence and killed off the game with a spectacular 9-22 score line in the third quarter. Mirotic was man of the match with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Whites will play for the first official trophy of the season against Barcelona Regal (tomorrow, 7:00 pm, La 1), who came out on top in the other semi-final against Valencia Basket by 77-63.
Laso started with the five players that he had called upon most during the preseason with Llull, Rudy, Suárez, Mirotic and Begic who has now recovered from his ankles problems. The home side, who came into the game without a win, started the game in the hope of turning around their fortunes in front of their home support and played excellent basketball in the first three minutes with Aguilar and Norel galvanising the team. They were strong in defence and had a cutting edge in attack and they took the initiative and made the score line 8-4 in the 3rd minute.
That was how long it took Real Madrid to grab a foothold in the match. As soon as Begic and Mirotic got things going, they started to get things their own way. They beautifully took hold of all balls and helped by the strength of Llull, they started to play fluently and scores with ease. A 2+1 from the guard led to the Whites leading 3-13 in the next four minutes. The talent and versatility of Mirotic were unstoppable for Abós’ men. Aguilar, Jones, and Norel were unable to contend with the forwards of the Whites. The Real Madrid youth player gave a lesson in the technical basics. With a great assist for Slaughter to slam home and another for a triple from Rudy, the visitors turned the tables on the match (13-18, min. 8).
From that time onwards, the team coached by Laso took advantage in the score line with five points during a second quarter which was not as good for both teams and in which possession was conceded more frequently. CAI took advantage of some sloppy periods of play to pull the score back to within two points given the fine work of the centre Jones (24-26, min. 15) Draper returned the advantage to the Whites before the break. They moved the ball about in attack and, once again, Mirotic took the leading role. He went to the break with 11 points, seven rebounds and 21 de in open play, and his team, with +5 (31-36, min. 20).
Madrid played well in their first few minutes of the official season. But that was not enough for them. They wanted more. And it came it the third devastating quarter. They improved considerably in defence in terms of intensity and nullified the attacks of the home team, which was powerless against the team from Madrid. In attack, they made life simple for themselves again and showed their full potential which is without doubt one of the best in Europe. Sergio Rodríguez dominated the match at will. He was having a great time and performed spectacularly with two alley oops which culminated with shots for both Rudy and Slaughter. The two new signings and Chacho were the platform from which the Whites were able to take off, who ended with a score line of 9-22 in this period (40-58, min. 30).
With the match almost killed off by the display of the power of Real Madrid, the final quarter was a mere formality. CAI did not throw in the towel and gave their all until the end. They improved in attack with points scored by the Croatian Rudez and managed to make the score line 64-71 in the minute 39', but the Whites replied with triples to maintain their comfortable lead and at no stage was their victory under threat during a game in which Willy Hernangómez also took part, in his first team debut which lasted more than three minutes (64-72, min. 40). The team from Madrid go into the first Clásico of the season undefeated, with seven wins out of seven and they will look to keep their perfect run of form going as they attempt to win their first trophy of the 2012-13 campaign.