Basketball players of CSKA in the Final four of the Euroleague will try to defend the title

© RIA Novosti / Alexander Wolfparade in fotobabbles CSKA Sonny Wims, Kyle Hines, Vitaly Fridzon (left to right). Archival photoBasketball players of CSKA in the Final four of the Euroleague will try to defend the title© RIA Novosti / Alexander Wolfparade the image Bank

The Moscow basketball club CSKA on Friday and will start playing in the next «Final four» of Euroleague, which will be held from 19 to 21 may in Istanbul. CSKA are the current winners of the tournament.

The final four will take the Istanbul arena «Sinan Erdem». CSKA on Friday will play in the semifinal against the Greek Olympiakos, starting at 18:30 GMT. The other semifinal match between the Turkish «Fenerbahce» and the Spanish «real Madrid» will start at 21:30 GMT. The army team went to the Final four for the 14th time in the last 15 years (winning in 2006, 2008 and 2016).

Another battle with archrivals

According to the results of the regular championship of the Euroleague team of Dimitris Itoudis took second place, behind only themselves «real». In the quarterfinal, CSKA had no problems, easy to deal with the Spanish «Basque country» with the score 3-0 in the series. Olympiacos same series was much more intense. The team of Yannis Sferopoulos had to spend all five matches to defeat the Turkish «Anadolu Efes».

Olympiacos is considered one of the most fundamental and inconvenient rivals CSKA in recent years. In 2012, these clubs met in the final of the Euroleague in Istanbul. During that meeting the «red-blue» led with a difference «19», however the players of Olympiacos managed to get back in the game and snatch victory with the score 62:61. In 2013 and 2015, the Greeks stopped CSKA in the semi-finals of the tournament.

However, in this season in the regular championship of Euroleague with CSKA twice defeated the Greek team — 81:75 on exit and 90:86 home. As said the head coach of Olympiacos Sferopoulos on the eve of the semifinal with CSKA, for the players of his team this meeting is not something special.

«The success of Olympiacos is a combination of two factors. First, it is the club who successfully cope with their duties in the most favorable financial conditions. Secondly, great players. We did not remember about the victory over CSKA in the Final four in 2015. CSKA is the reigning champion of the Euroleague, and we returned to the Final four after the failure of last year. I don’t think we’re going to take this game as something special,» said Sferopoulos reporters.

In the opinion of the defender of CSKA’s Nando De Colo, rivals in the «Final four» basketball Euroleague won’t be able to surprise his team. «It was a very long season for us, we played a lot of matches in the new format of the Euroleague. But in this way we are well prepared for the Final four. We already know the game opponents in the Final four, their features, and surprises, no one will give now,» said De Colo.

Teodosic will play, Dmitriy Kulagin — no

On Thursday, CSKA President Andrey Vatutin was encouraged by his team’s fans — one of the leaders of CSKA Milos Teodosic will play in the Final four. The Serbian defender because of a foot injury missed in may, the play-offs of VTB United League Kazakhstan Astana and its participation in the Euroleague semi-final was in question.

«The concern is that Teodosic did not train for two weeks because of a foot injury. He did therapy. He played with pain matches against «the Basque country». Hats off to them. These extra efforts have led to the fact that he didn’t play for two weeks. Dmitry Kulagin sure will miss the semi-finals,» said Vatutin on Thursday.

«Teodosic will be released (the Final four), but he will play — only God knows. It is clear that all will try. But it is difficult to expect from the Serbian heroic deeds after two weeks out of the training process. His game intelligence will not allow him to train for six months and then play. Physically he is not ready 100 percent,» — said the President of CSKA.

The game for third place and the final of the Euroleague will be held on Sunday at 18:00 and 21:00 GMT respectively.