LazoGanadores de Champions LeagueOtro

Madrid secure crucial victory in Belgrade to top EuroLeague

MATCH REPORT. 10/01/2023. Edu Bueno

Chus Mateo’s men produced another sublime display on one of the toughest courts in Europe. Tavares was the star man with 35 in PIR.

Real Madrid began their EuroLeague double-header on the road in the best possible way after claiming an impressive win at the epic Aleksandar Nikolic Hall to move top of the competition standings. The Whites secured the spoils against KK Crvena Zvezda after a battling display against a wave of pressure from the hosts, while producing some of their best basketball in decisive moments. With the score at 47-42 in the 26th minute, Madrid produced a 4-27 scoring run in the following nine minutes to secure their 12th victory in the competition. This was also the third consecutive win that the side has prevailed by 20 points or more and the ninth best defensive display. Tavares, with another masterclass, recording 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and 35 in PIR; and Musa (19 points and 19 in PIR, were the team’s standout performers.
The visitors controlled the early proceedings and were not deterred by the intense atmosphere, as they defended resolutely while demonstrating their attacking threat with the impressive Tavares at the heart of it all. The centre hit seven points on the bounce to edge his team six points ahead in the 7th minute, but Nedovic came off the bench to bring the home side back into it with eight points. The madridistas were obliged to tighten the marking on the Serbian shooting guard and, spearheaded by Williams-Goss and Musa, once again opened up a lead at the end of a fine first quarter (16-25).
Up and down
The Balkans cranked up their pressure in the second quarter in a bid to close the gap. Initially it was not effective because Madrid countered from the perimeter, with three-pointers from Yabusele, Sergio Rodríguez and Cornelie, to build the biggest lead of the first half in the 13th minute (17-31). However, once again Nedovic's intervention from 6.75m, combined with Petrusev's, sparked the home side's revival before the break (34-38).

Video.59-79: Madrid secure crucial victory in Belgrade to top EuroLeague

Crvena zvezda were more switched on in the second half and an 8-0 run sent them ahead for the first time in the contest (40-38, min.22). The home inside players, Petrusev and Kuzmic, created havoc for the Madrid defence, with the Pionir Hall roaring the home side on, who led by five points midway through the third quarter, until Madrid rediscovered their best play. Chus Mateo called time-out and introduced Cornelie to accompany Tavares on the inside, which gave them a boost at both ends of the court. Musa immediately did more damage with his piercing runs and the inside duo began to dominate the offensive rebounding. The Cape Verdean was on his way to a double-double in a 4-15 run to take a 6-point lead into the final period (51-57).
Madrid pull clear
The best was still to come for the madridistas. The visitors closed out a game that was far from over with a breathtaking last quarter, both in attack and defence, which killed off Crvena zvezda. In defence, they granted no concessions, upping the intensity to ensure that the opposition was unable to score for 5 minutes and only managed 8 points in the last 10 minutes. It was time for Sergio Rodríguez to pick up the reins and have some fun on the court. He fed the ball to Tavares and Cornelie, who were still relentless in the paint. The lead increased to a resounding 4-27 in Madrid's favour between 26' and 35'. Even Poirier joined the party with a three-pointer to cap a massive 20-point win (59-79). It was a superb start to an action-packed 10 days with four away games. Now it's off to Germany to face Alba Berlin in 48 hours (Thursday, 8pm CET).