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Impressive victory in Milan

MATCH REPORT. 15/12/2021. Edu Bueno

Real Madrid made a statement at the Mediolanum Forum and wrapped up the EuroLeague double-header undefeated with Yabusele and Causeur the standout players.

Real Madrid recorded an important victory, the kind of win that is more than just a victory in itself. Beating Olimpia Milan, their nearest challengers in the standings and one of the contenders for the title, and doing so away from home on one of the most difficult courts in Europe, Real Madrid rounded of a winning week. A great defensive performance and an attacking display led by Yabusele, who scored 15 points and a game-high 22 PIR, and Causeur, top scorer with 17. Captain Sergio Llull equalled Felipe Reyes as the Madrid player with the most wins in this competition (226).
It was a very lively affair from the off, with an evenly matched first quarter. Real Madrid had two good spells, at the start thanks to alternating defences that unsettled Messina's team and in attack with three straight three-pointers to make it 8-11 in the third minute, and then in the final stretch, cancelling out a 7-0 run by Olimpia Milano that left the scoreboard tight at 19-18 at the end of the period. Causeur, with 5 points, was the attacking reference for the madridistas, who accumulated a number of fouls and turnovers that gave their opponents the opportunity to build up a small lead.

Real Madrid takes control
Our side shattered the deadlock with a great second quarter. Finding the balance thanks to excellent defensive work, they completely stifled an opponent with the offensive talent of Olimpia Milano. Credit to Chus Mateo, who returned to coach Madrid following Laso's positive COVID-19 result. The Milanese side only scored 8 points to Madrid's 17, without committing any turnovers and with Yabusele and Tavares making the difference. The Frenchman's return, after missing the last few games with muscle problems, was impressive with 11 consecutive points, while the centre was strong on the rebound (7) and overtook Fran Vázquez as the third highest blocker in the history of the Euroleague with his second block. Rudy and Llull also hit three-pointers and the gap was down to 10 points at 25-35 in the 20th minute.

Video.73-75: Impressive victory in Milan

The home side began to pick up the pace after the break. Shields and Delaney came to the fore and with a dazzling start they came within 3 points (32-35, min. 21). Chus Mateo quickly interrupted with a time-out and a collective effort led by Williams-Goss and Hanga restored the +8 lead at the end of the first half. Milan upped their intensity and their experience began to count with Melli and Hines unsettling Tavares and Poirier and causing two technicals fouls in a row (to the Cape Verdean and to the bench). Madrid were under heavy pressure with their opponents getting closer and closer, but they showed great focus and know-how and like a great team they emerged from that difficult situation. Causeur, Rudy and Llull, with three three-pointers, and Randolph, slowed down the home side's rise to go into the final quarter with a +7 lead (46-53, min. 30).
A hard-fought win
Real Madrid had been consistent throughout the game and were aware that the home side were going to throw everything at them in the final stretch. They were ready for it and everyone pulled their weight. Tavares was missing due to four personal fouls, and Poirier stepped up against the Italian strength. They were patient and fluid in attack, finding points from the edge with Causeur, Rudy and Llull (the three of them ended up having a great game with double digits in scoring and rating). The three of them plus Yabusele helped Madrid to a maximum of 14 points at 57-71 with 3 minutes left, but the game was not over. Olimpia Milán fought for the last push and managed to get right back into the fight for the win. In a crazy final minute, our side defended the lead at 73-75, a lead that was ultimately two points at 73-75. The third game of the week is in less than 72 hours away against UCAM Murcia (Sunday, 6:30pm CET).