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Real Madrid - CSKA de Moscú

CSKA-Real Madrid: all set to open an advantage over a direct rival

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NEWS | 08/02/2019 | Edu Bueno

The Whites could go two wins ahead of the Russians heading into the final stretch of the Euroleague campaign (6:00pm CET).
Real Madrid travel to Moscow for one of the most demanding encounters of the season, just a week before embarking on their Copa del Rey campaign. The Whites head into the clash in second place, boasting one win more than the Russian side, and will hope to increase this advantage as they continue their quest for home-court advantage in the play-offs. Two of European basketball's heavyweights lock horns at a court where the madridistas will be hoping to get back to winning ways. Llull and Thompkins miss out through injury, as Laso picks a 14-man squad.

It's the game of the 17 European Cups (10 for Real Madrid, 7 for CSKA Moscow) and all eyes on the continent will be set on the result. A clash of this stature needs little introduction and with just eight games to go until the end of the League Regular Season, it's a vital meeting in terms of qualification for the final stage. Should they win, the Whites will place themselves two victories ahead of the Russians, all but guaranteeing a play-off spot and taking a huge step towards finishing in the top four. The basket-average will also be interesting, given it currently reads +5 in CSKA's favour following their 88-93 win in Madrid first time around.

Rudy could become the seventh-highest three-point scorer in Euroleague history.

Both teams have won five of their last six encounters. CSKA Moscow have only lost once at home, against Maccabi. Real Madrid love a challenge, and it's set to be double, given their last victory on this court came back in 2008/09. In the first clash, the Muscovites' accuracy on the triple proved decisive, as Llull and Sergio Rodríguez were both absent. The Russians will be pleased that's set to be the case once again. Real Madrid will also be without Thompkins, another of their defensive leaders. Last year's semi-final in Belgrade will surely be fresh in the players' minds, as Laso's men ran out 83-92 winners.  

The defense
These are two of the Euroleague's top three offenses. CSKA net an average of 87 points, to Real Madrid's 86.1, but the Whites concede less (76.3 to 80.7). Randolph, with 19.5 points and PIR of 22 in the two recent wins over Anadolu Efes and Darussafaka, is one of the madridistas' in-form players. Another is Rudy, who is just three triples from eclipsing Holden as the all-time seventh-highest scorer in this regard.

The opposition
For CSKA, De Colo is enjoying a superb spell of form, being chosen as MVP for the last match day (38 PIR). Itoudis' men are a side full of points, versatile in their game and with superb strength despite the stature of their squad. The European champions do, however, and the rebound could prove crucial on the final away trip ahead of the Copa.

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