Russian-Spanish duels headlining the Euroleague games on Friday

After some crazy games on Thursday, we have other exciting clashes coming up on Friday in Euroleague Round 2.

In Saint Petersburg, Zenit will face Barcelona. The Russian side had a very bad Euroleague debut, losing by 20 points to Alba Berlin. Now they will have to face one of the title contenders and, to add to their problems, they will have to do it without their star center Gustavo Ayon. On the other side, Barca impressed in the first game-winning at Efes. While they also have a key player missing in Cory Higgins, the Catalans have a deeper roster and Euroleague experience so they should grab a comfortable win.

In the Russian capital, Khimki will face Baskonia in a very interesting game. Khimki still has injury problems but they showed their depth in the first round against Maccabi. The Basque team will be without Jayson Granger who will miss a long period of time. It should be a highly contested game but I think Khimki will take advantage of the home court and get the win.

In the third game of the day, I don’t see Efes taking another bad step at home and they should comfortably win against Alba Berlin. Coach Reneses did an amazing job in the last few years building a strong young team at Alba and they played an enthusiastic game in Round 1, but Efes is still too strong for the German team.

In Piraeus, Olympiacos will look to get over the shock of Coach Blatt’s resignation after their dismal performance in Round 1 and they have to beat last year’s Eurocup champion Valencia. The Spanish side received a hard lesson from CSKA last week and they are the underdogs against Olympiacos too, but given the circumstances, it’s not impossible for them to get a surprising away win today.

In the last game of the week, Armani Milan will face Zalgiris Kaunas. Milan definitely targets at least the playoffs this year and it would be a huge disappointment for them to miss it yet again. While Milan is the favourite, Zalgiris is a team that never gives up and I expect a very close contest.

Photo: fcbarcelona.com

Imre Halasz

 

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