Real Madrid’s bid to win a first Euroleague crown since 1995 is off to the perfect start as Los Blancos demolished arch rivals Barcelona in the first game of the Final Four in Milan. The Spanish giants renewed their rivalry on the biggest stage and Real Madrid swept to victory to book a place in the Final game against Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Madrid’s season has been promising something special from the very beginning, with the team sweeping all before it on a 30+ game winning streak to open the campaign. While there have been Euroleague stumbles against the likes of Bayern Munich, when it has counted most, Madrid has stepped up. The Spaniards are now arguably favourites for the final, but Tel Aviv’s spirit and quality will pose another test.
As for Barcelona, the Catalans are still in contention for the Spanish league, but once again in Europe a dazzling Top 16 has not turned into the ultimate prize. Barca will be back again next year of course, but this season goes down as another that could have been.
Barcelona started the game quickly and marched into a 12-4 lead in the first quarter. However, Madrid dug in and had tied the game at 20-20 by time the first 10 minutes had ended. Madrid looked much better in the second period as the team put more baskets together and edged Barca out in defence. Los Blancos lead by 11 points in the 10 minutes, but by halftime the score had been cut to 37-45 in Madrid’s favour. Real Madrid kept control early in the second half and as the third quarter drew to a close the team erupted with 14 unanswered points to put the score at 48-73. The game was beyond Barcelona in the fourth quarter and Real eased to a convincing win that will surely send a message to Tel Aviv.