All out for la Duodécima!

87 -76

Real Madrid


Olympiacos Piraeus

Real Madrid beat Olympiacos in the semifinals thanks to a sublime first half and will now look to defend the title in the final against Panathinaikos (Sunday, 8:00pm CEST).

All out for la Duodécima!
MATCH REPORT.Edu Bueno (Berlín)Photographer: Helios de la Rubia

One step away from glory and in the best possible way. This is how Real Madrid entered its seventh Euroleague final in the last 11 years, the third in a row and the 21st in total, after defeating Olympiacos in the replay of last year's final. A semi-final that they completely dominated after a colossal first half, in which they won by 25 points, and forty minutes of absolute commitment to achieve our 400th victory in the Euroleague. Musa was decisive, with 20 points and 23 PIR, and six other players scored 8 points or more. We will play the title against Panathinaikos (Sunday, 8:00pm CEST), who beat Fenerbahce in the other semifinal.

Madrid made its appearance in the Final Four with an impressive first quarter performance that very few teams are capable of producing. They broke the ice by displaying basketball of the highest level. Four first minutes without a missed shot for a 14-6 with an impeccable Hezonja (9 points with three three-pointers). They left Olympiacos at 10 points, dominating the rebounding and reducing their perimeter shooting to 25%. It was an almost perfect machine fed by each and every one of its members. Ndiaye in his defensive role on Peters, a very supportive Campazzo carrying the weight of the team (6 assists and 4 rebounds), Tavares (6), Musa (6) and Yabusele (5). A spectacular 28-10, with 5/8 in two-point shots and 6/8 in three-pointers.

Steady and strong
The level of concentration and commitment was commendable. A play by Rudy diving to the floor twice to recover a ball 24 points up summed up the spirit of this team. Olympiacos improved in the second quarter thanks to Canaan and McKissic, but could not get any closer on the scoreboard. Madrid did not allow them to do so and countered every Greek attempt with a high level of accuracy in field goal shooting. CauseurLlullSergio Rodriguez and Poirier scored all their shots. The Canarian point guard, at his best (6 points and 3 assists) and the center, with his usual forcefulness (3 dunks), were in charge of raising the difference to +25 in the final stretch of the first half, which ended with 56-37.

But this was a semifinal and they faced an opponent that does not allow a second to relax. They tightened up on defense, improved in offensive rebounding and more effective offensive players such as Walkup, Williams-Goss and Peters appeared. Without the clarity they had at the beginning, the team showed great resilience. Musa took the lead in attack and his eight points, when there was more pressure, were providential to minimize the damage in the third quarter and go into the last quarter with an advantage (71-58).

400 wins and onto the final 
Olympiacos was persistent in its determination to get into the game. They had the right point guards, especially in Peters and Williams-Goss. Between the two of them, they brought their team to within 10 points. Now it was Madrid's turn to show its mentality in the most delicate moment. They were united, cool-headed and held on with Llull and Sergio Rodríguez stepping up and preventing their rival from closing the gap. They did not go below 8 points, which shows enormous credit because the pressure was brutal. Even without Tavares, who committed his fifth turnover.

But Madrid handles these situations like no one else and dissipated the Greek hopes in the last minute and a half with two spectacular actions. Campazzo went to the floor to recover a ball and assist Musa, who finished with a dunk. Seconds later, a steal, a pass behind Sergio Rodriguez's back and the Bosnian dunks again to close the victory 87-76. Forty-four years on we play a European Cup final in Berlin once again. On that occasion, we beat Maccabi and lifted our seventh European Cup. On Sunday, we will go all out to win la Duodécima (twelfth).