Barcelona – Real Madrid, the European classic | Sports

A Barça in great shape but tight due to historical emergencies against a Madrid shaved by casualties in the inside game but thirsty for glory. The semifinal of the Euroleague Final Four (20.00, Dazn) dresses this Friday as a European classic. It will be the fifth time that the two colossi face each other on the penultimate step after the Barça triumph in 1996 and three white bingos: 2013, 2014 and 2022, when the madridistas came back from 13 points in Belgrade. Curiously, a curse accompanies the winner of this duel, who always fell next in the match for the title. In total, there are 33 European confrontations in this century alone: ​​17-16 for the Catalans.

Barça arrives launched to Kaunas. On Sunday they secured the lead in the ACB by beating Baskonia in Vitoria, they dispatched Zalgiris 3-0 in the Euroleague quarterfinals, they only have Higgins missing, and Mirotic is fresh in body and mind after starting his season in December for an injury. He is also moved by the desire to close the wounds of the last two seasons: the final lost against Efes and the loss in the semifinals against Madrid. “I like that pressure because it will bring out the best in us,” says coach Saras Jasikevicius. It does not remind the Lithuanian coach of the weight of history. Barça sang its first Euroleague in 2003, with him as game director, and repeated in 2010. Since then, the drought. “For our club it is difficult to be calm now. You have to know how to suffer and enjoy ”, he affirms.

Madrid has a full stomach with 10 European Cups, the previous one in 2018, and eight presences in the last 10 editions, but the shield demands more. The laurel escaped him last season for a point (57-58) against Efes and today he appears against Barça with the accumulated fatigue of the five pulses against Partizán and a sharp part of absences: the sanctioned Yabusele for the tangana against the Serbian group and Deck and Poirier due to injury. The hole is great in the inner game. Without a pure four, Chus Mateo will have to raise with the false Hezonja and with the junior Ndiaye precisely in the position in which Mirotic strikes, and hang on to the giant Tavares, who awaits many minutes on court against Sanli and Vesely, agitators inside and out. “We must redo ourselves. We arrived with less energy than we would like and after suffering a lot, but there are no excuses, no drama, no turning back. Coming back against Partizán has made us look stronger. We are here to compete”, recites Mateo, debutant in these fights. Jasikevicius, in the third Final Four followed by him, is wary of his injured rival: “Madrid won’t be worse, it will be different. We cannot think only of Tavares”.

The other seat in the final on Sunday is played by Olympiacos and Monaco (5:00 p.m., Dazn). The Greeks, shielded by some 4,000 fans in Kaunas, were leaders in the regular phase and have the mvp of the tournament, the Bulgarian power forward Sasha Vezenkov, top scorer with an average of 17.2 points and in the ideal quintet along with Lorenzo Brown (Maccabi), Musa and Tavares (Madrid) and Lessort (Partizán). Opposite, a rookie on this stage, the Monaco point guard Mike James. Two great games await in Kaunas.

crossings and schedules

Semifinals:

Olympiacos-Monaco (Friday at 5:00 p.m., Dazn)

Barcelona-Real Madrid (Friday at 8:00 p.m., Dazn).

Third place: Sunday at 4:00 p.m., Dazn.

Final: Sunday at 7:00 p.m., Dazn.

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