The main match of the week in the VTB United League was the meeting between CSKA and Avtodor. Everyone was waiting for an intrigue: will Saratov continue to position itself as a leader, or will the army club shake itself up and remember who should always be the first. CSKA won in the end (92:65), and regained their usual leading line in the regular season.
The classic 90s confrontation between Moscow and Saratov is back this season. “Avtodor” sensationally finished the calendar year as the leader of the regular season, CSKA continued to freak out and give positions to competitors, and as we predicted , the meeting between the army team and the Winter League champions was to be a real match of the week. Who will win? Dimitris Itoudis or Emil Rajkovic ?
In favor of the army team, the stellar composition, name, experience, home walls spoke (this season CSKA played at home twice and won both times) and statistics of head-to-head meetings in the VTB United League 12-1. In favor of the guests of Saratov, the found game rhythm, the balance between defense and a brilliant attack, as well as recently caught courage.
Before the match, Rajkovic said that he understood who his team was going to and that he was counting on good basketball in their performance during the entire 40 minutes. But CSKA, it seems, had a good rest – the army team played the last match on December 26. And motivation was rife.
The red-blues started to crush right away, and Tornike Shengelia and Johannes Vogtmann tried most of all , and after the first half of the meeting they ran away 52:36. However, it is quite easy to lose this advantage in basketball. Avtodor tried to turn the tide of the game, but they failed. CSKA was already leading with the advantage of “+20” and the last quarter could not decide anything.
The final score is 92:65, and for the first time this season Avtodor failed to score more than 80 points. Tornike Shengelia became the hero of the match. In 20 minutes, the Georgian forward scored 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists with 7 out of 11 from the field.
This victory allowed CSKA to rise to its usual place – the first. Avtodor dropped to third. Soon we will know the answer to the question whether this match became a key one for both teams. Will CSKA continue the winning streak, and will Avtodor be able to stay in the lead.
The reds and blues, meanwhile, got another long rest period. On January 7, they were supposed to play with Barcelona in the Euroleague, but the match was postponed indefinitely, since 13 players of the Spanish team were immediately infected with the coronavirus. In general, the Euroleague immediately postponed eight matches of the 19th round of nine due to the coronavirus. Only Zenit and Milan will be able to play.
Meanwhile, “Zenith” would also benefit from a respite. PARMA, which has secured the fifth place recently, managed to outplay the club from St. Petersburg in the last match – 77:67. And as the head coach of Zenit Javier Pascual said , the team did not have enough energy: “Now we play matches every three days, and this also affects the condition of the players. There was no Alex Poytress , Arturas Gudaitis, Mateusz Ponitka and Jordan Loyd also felt bad . Of course, these are not excuses, but it also affects the game. “
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