On Friday, in Round 24 of Turkish Airlines Euroleague, we have another episode of one of the fiercest duels in European basketball, Olympiacos Piraeus vs Panathinaikos Athens. This rivalry is well-known for all basketball fans and those two teams need no introduction regarding their history or aspirations. It’s the most important game in a year for them and the victory is the only result accepted by the fans from both teams.
For Olympiacos, this game came in a very bad moment, as they lost the last 3 games in a row in Euroleague. They’re currently on 10th position with 11 wins from 23 matches, 2 wins less than Fenerbahce, the team from 8th place. Despite losing all three games, they fought very well and managed to stay close to Zalgiris, Armani Milano and Barcelona, three teams that have a better record than the Greek team. In their last encounter against Barcelona, they had the edge of the game until the final moments of the game when the Spanish giants managed to overcome a 6 points-deficit in the start of the fourth quarter and won the game 76-74. That result gives high hopes for a win in Friday’s encounter for Oly’s fans and besides that, Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou are listed as a game-time decision and may be ready for this game.
The morale is very good in Panathinaikos’s camp because they won in the last round against Valencia in a very convincing fashion, 91-72. They scored a lot of points, but more important was their desire and fight on the defensive end, forcing a lot of turnovers and winning the rebounds battle very easy. Is a tough year for Panathinaikos as they are currently on 15th positions with only 8 wins. In 10 away games, they managed to win only 2, being the second-worst team on the road in Euroleague, after Khimki Moscow. Another bad news for Panathinaikos fans is the absence of Nemanja Nedovic, which is the main scorer and best passer of the team. He’s the only player out for them, but probably the most important.
The time will stop in Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday when these two teams will face and despite a disappointing season for both teams, this game will be at high standards while the passion and desire of winning over the biggest rival will overcome every negative aspect of their season. As a prediction, I expect a win from Olympiacos, only because the absence of Nedovic will be too much for Panathinaikos.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc