Olympiakos Crowned European Champions

Olympiakos Crowned European Champions

    Olympiakos managed to upset CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague final to be crowned European champions for the second time in their history with a 62-61 score on Sunday in Istanbul.

    The Reds did the unthinkable, as not only were they the underdogs before the final, but they were also 19 points behind the Russian giant late in the third period (53-34) before they started their comeback.

    Trailing 53-34 midway through the third quarter, the Greek team looked devoid of energy but clawed their way back into the match with an 18-2 rally which put them within touching distance in the closing stages.

    CSKA forward Ramunas Siskauskas then missed a pair of free throws before forward Georgios Printezis scored on the buzzer and threw 5,000 Olympiakos fans into a frenzy in a jam-packed Sinan Erdem Arena.

    It was also the second Euroleague title for Olympiakos’s Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic, who steered them to their last major wins during his first spell in charge in 1997.

    Olympiakos have had little to cheer about since they won the Greek and Euroleague titles 15 years ago, having played second fiddle in both competitions to bitter rivals Panathinaikos Athens.

    Their win over CSKA was also a bitter blow for Panathinaikos fans, who taunted their outnumbered rivals throughout the gripping Final Four in Istanbul.

    Having lost to CSKA in Friday’s semi-final, Panathinaikos were also beaten by Barcelona 74-69 in the third-place playoff earlier on Sunday as Brazilian guard Marcelinho Huertas brought in 21 points for the Spanish side.

    Panathinaikos supporters left in a hurry after the final as the jubilant Olympiakos faithful, galvanized by incessant and noisy drumbeats in their section, had to be restrained from invading the court at the end of a memorable evening.

    Power forward Kostas Papanikolau led the winners with 18 points, the tournament’s most valuable player Vassilis Spanoulis scored 15 and Georgios Printezis chipped in 12.
    (source: Eurosport)