Great victory in Istanbul
Olympiacos fulfilled his duty in Istanbul and now holds his fate in his own hands. On the anniversary of the gate 7 tragedy, the “reds” playing with a black ribbon on their shirts have joy to all the Olympiacos fans.
Dusan Ivkovic’ players went to Turkey determined to get the victory and made that known from the beginning of the game. Playing an excellent defense, Olympiacos controlled the rhythm and got a safety lead that was maintained till the end of the first half.
The good defensive performance of Olympiacos continued well in the second half, at the same time when the couple of Papanikolaou – Printezis was leading the team in offense. Two minutes before the end, the “reds” led by another 12 points, but the Turks never gave up and with three consecutive three-pointers returned to the game and challenged victory. Only 10’’ before the end, Vujacic fouled Kostas Sloukas and this time the international guard made both his last shots. However, it was once again the tight defense that gave the reds the victory, with a superb example of the defense played on the last offensive play of the Turks that did not allow them to take an easy shot.
The quarters: 9-16, 32-37, 42-48, 65-67
Εfes (Sarica): Κinsey 4, Τuncery, Αkyol 6 (1),Batista 2, Vujacic 8 (2), Savanovic 7, Guller, Lafayette 22 (4), Barac 16.
Οlympiacos (Ivkovic): Hines 5, Antic 4, Spanoulis 8, Dorsey 8 (8reb.), Gecevicius 3 (1), Printezis 16 (1 3p., 4reb.), Papanikolaou 16 (1 3p., 6 reb.), Μantzaris, Sloukas 2, Law 5 (1).
DUSAN IVKOVIC: It was a very important game for both teams. I think we deserved the victory, we controlled the game better, but you can never say a basketball game is over before it actually ends. There has been a lot of pressure for both teams. Efes made the turnovers first but we made a lot at the end. We wish to dedicate this victory to the 21 dead kids that lost their lives 31 years ago this day at the Olympiacos – AEK football game and of course to their families.
Our team is a very young team, a team that has been playing together for a short time, especially after the incorporation of the two Americans. Printezis and Papanikolaou played a great game tonight, but basketball is a team sport and its difficult to give individual credit.
GIORGOS PRINTEZIS: It’s a very important day for our fans, to whom we wish to dedicate our victory. It’s an important week for us. We remained focused, did what we had to do. We got nervous at the end and made some wrong choices. What counts is that we won. We still haven’t accomplished anything, we keep on working.
ΚOSTAS PAPANIKOLAOU: This is a very important day for Olympiacos and we all know why. I would like to dedicate the victory to the families of the “Gate 7” victims and wish them all the best for their lives, although I know that the loss will always hurt. I wish nothing of the likes happens ever again.
We almost lost the game by our own mistakes, but we made it at the end. As for me, the coach trusts me, I feel 100% ready and I did not become Kostas, from “little Kostas” in one day, like everyone says. I want to work every day and try to give what the coach asks from me.
OFUK SARICA: We really wanted to win and that filled us with anxiety. Especially in the first half. Olympiacos played around Spanoulis who is the natural leader of the team and organized the game very well. We had a chance at winning, but unfortunately we did not make it.