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Into the EuroLeague final

MATCH REPORT. 19/05/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero (Belgrade)

Real Madrid fought back from 13 points down in the semi-final against Barça and will be vying to win their eleventh trophy against Anadolu Efes.

Real Madrid booked their place in Saturday’s final in Belgrade, the scene of the club’s legendary tenth trophy. The Whites will go head-to-head with Anadolu Efes after emerging victorious from the EuroLeague semi-final Clásico against Barcelona. It was an evenly matched game played at high intensity and our side produced a proud display, showing true character to turn around the clash. Trailing by 13 points in the 21st minute, Madrid then produced a sublime third quarter to turn the score on its head after a 26-11 run that they defended with their lives right until the final buzzer. It was a sensational all-round team performance, spearheaded by Yabusele (24 in PIR), Causeur (18), Llull and Tavares (14 each). This will be the club’s nineteenth final, the fifth under the guidance of Pablo Laso.
 
The Clásico got off to a frenetic start and Real Madrid were dealt a setback early on when Williams-Goss picked up an injury after only 52 seconds. But this did not disrupt Laso’s game plan too much and the coach’s initial formation without an out and out center surprised Barcelona, as Yabusele notched 8 of his 10 points in the first 10 minutes (8-14, min.6). The introduction of Davies, alongside Mirotic, and the advantage in offensive rebounding for the Catalans, brought the scores closer, but our team stayed ahead until the 12-minute mark at 20-25, with Deck being the most effective player. However, Barça looked to Laprovittola and his three-pointers to break down Madrid's defence. A 26-15 run in their favour in the second quarter sent the game into the break at 45-all.

Video.83-86: Into the EuroLeague final

Madrid dig deep
Sanli took the lead to 13 points after the restart and things were not looking good for our team. But Madrid were never going to give up. They showed courage and pride and displayed great competitiveness in the most challenging moments to pull themselves back into the fight for victory with a fantastic third quarter. Abalde galvanised the team in attack with 7 points in a row. He was then followed by Causeur, Tavares and a team that showed tremendous spirit. Madrid also shut down the rebounding around their basket and reduced Barcelona's three-point percentages, as they struggled to score. Laso‘s troops were now in control as they limited Barça to 11 points, whilst racking up 26 of their own, as Madrid were 56-60 ahead in the 30th minute.
 
An epic victory requires a tremendous effort
Real Madrid seem to rise in the face of adversity, but there was still work to be done against a strong Barça team. The Whites stood firm against the opposition’s onslaught, led by Mirotic, but Laprovittola produced two three-pointers to move the scores level on 75 in the 38th minute. But Laso’s charges kept their nerve and Causeur popped up with a triple and then a steal and basket to put Madrid 75-80 ahead. Jasikevicius’ side couldn’t close the gap as our team produced more decisive plays – first a block by Poirier, an offensive rebound from Deck, and free throws from Hanga and Llull. With the score at 83-84 with five seconds left on the clock, Yabusele emulated Thompkins with a rebound and personal foul to seal an unforgettable victory (83-86). Real Madrid have won their last two finals they have appeared in (2015 and 2018). Anadolu Efes stand in the team’s way, having beaten Olympiacos in the other semi-final, courtesy of a three-pointer from Micic in the last seconds. The Whites will go in search of their eleventh European Cup on Saturday (7 pm CET).

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