By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After enjoying 10 straight victories, the defending EuroLeague champions have finally fallen. However, it didn’t appear that way in the last seconds of overtime in Istanbul.
Under immense pressure, Facundo Campazzo tried to pass the ball to Gabriel Deck. Marko Guduric made a crucial steal and passed the ball to Yam Madar, who executed a layup in the final seconds, turning the score around and granting Fenerbahce Beko a 100-99 victory. This win halted their four-game losing streak.
Fenerbahce trailed for most of the match, primarily due to Campazzo’s amazing night. The Argentine scored a career-high 33 points, finishing the game with a PIR of 32. However, it wasn’t enough for Real Madrid to continue their winning streak.
Marko Guduric was the MVP for the hosts, contributing 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals – including the one that led to Madar’s winning points. He also had just one turnover for a team-high PIR of 29, marking his best game of the season by far. His timing to shine was perfect.
“We secured a crucial victory against a formidable opponent like Real Madrid. This win was pivotal for us as we needed to react after losing four matches in a row. The match held great importance, and we were prepared to fight, despite making some defensive mistakes in the first half. Overcoming a double-digit deficit in the second half, we displayed character on the field. Our team spirit shone through as we shared the ball and played cohesively. This victory holds immense value for us. Throughout the season, we often found ourselves on the losing end of close matches, but this time, luck was on our side,” Guduric commented after the match.
Scottie Wilbekin followed with 19 points, including a three-pointer that led to overtime. The game-winner by Madar was part of his 17-point performance, while Nigel Hayes Davies also made a significant contribution with 16 points and seven rebounds.
“After catching the ball, I knew we needed to score to win the game. I just tried to get to the hoop and score as soon as possible,” Madar said about the final possesion after the match. “This victory against a great opponent like Real Madrid is very important. I believe what happened in the last moments summarizes the overall match; we always stayed together as a team and fought until the end. Our job was not easy, as we trailed our opponent throughout the match. I am very happy that we stayed together until the end and secured the win. This victory is of great importance to us.”
Campazzo found support from Gabriel Deck and Sergio Llull, both scoring 14 points. The experienced Spaniard, Llull, also reached a milestone of 600 three-pointers made in the EuroLeague. Vincent Poirier and Dzanan Musa followed with 11 points each.
Fenerbahce’s coach Dimitris Itoudis was full of praise for his players, pointing out their character to never give up.
“The statistics sheet in my hand confirms our victory, and I extend my congratulations to our players. Indeed, they deserve more than just congratulations for their tremendous efforts today. Both our players and fans emerged victorious. As I analyze the statistics in my hand, I see traits of character, belief, and relentless struggle. The numbers clearly reflect this. We stayed united until the last moment, aiming to maintain a wide rotation today. Despite being behind for most of the match and facing a double-digit deficit, we never gave up. We implemented various strategies, including switches, short fives, and long fives. After all these efforts, we have come back. Therefore, I congratulate all our players,” Itoudis said at the postgame press conference.
Real Madrid coach, Chus Mateo, was pleased with his team performance, despite the loss.
“It was an incredibly amazing game. We saw two teams battling for the victory on the court. We dominated the game for a long time, but with the fate shots in the final minutes, the match became neck and neck. I believe we played a very good game because it’s not easy to play against Fenerbahce, especially away,” Mateo said.