Fener alker faces Real in debut Final 4 appearance

Fenerbahce ulker, pitted against Real Madrid in its first appearance in the Euroleague Final Four, seeks to raise the stakes further and beat host Real Madrid in their semifinal clash on Friday.

Under coach Zeljko Obradovic, an internationally acclaimed basketball tactician who led his sides to eight Euroleague trophies, Fenerbahce has proven to be a tough side in the top-class European competition and Obradovic does not intend to leave the team at the semifinals. The Turkish champions have met the Spanish powerhouse 12 times previously, losing nine games, though the two sides have not faced off for the past three years.

Fenerbahce was given a farewell worthy of champions as they departed from club facilities in Istanbul amid chants calling for them to make history on Wednesday. Obradovic thanked supporters and fans, and thanked his players for doing a great job. The Istanbul club showed off in the round of the last eight, eliminating the reigning title-holder Maccabi Tel Aviv en route to Madrid.

The Serbian coach has many players who have already proven their credentials in the Euroleague to trust against Real Madrid. Point guard Nikoz Zisis will team up with guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kenan Sipahi to set the tempo. Andrew Goudelock, the third top scorer of the full season averaging 16.4 points per game, is expected to lead the Fenerbahce offense. Forwards Nemanja Bjelica, the full season’s second best rebounder, and Emir Preldzic, a major backup for the offense of the Istanbul side, will try to cause trouble for the Madrid forwards, who include Felipe Reyes.

At Barclaycard Center, the host team will look to earn its second title, defeating Fenerbahce to make it to the championship finals for the third consecutive time. Coach Pablo Laso, who was a guard during Obradovic’s tenure at Real Madrid, relies on guards Sergio Rodriguez and Sergio Llull as his key players to master the rhythm of the match. Scoring leader Rudy Fernandez and sharpshooter Jaycee Carroll will seek to bring home crucial points.

The winner of the Real Madrid-Fenerbahce matchup will play in the final against the winner of the other semifinal clash between CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos Piraeus. The Russian and Greek sides are set for their clash earlier on Friday, which will also mark their third encounter in the Final Four of the Euroleague.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN