Olympiakos played Valencia tonight, eventually winning 79-85 and ensuring qualification for the next round. Our next aim will be to beat Fenerbahce Ulker so that we finish first in the group.
Olympiakos began with a basic five of Spanoulis, Teodosic, Papanikolaou, Nielsen and Bourousis but after the first five minutes had a problem in penetrating the defence of the Spanish team. Valencia took a slight lead early on before Bourousis helped reduce the score back to 12-11 by the 7th minute. Spanoulis then helped the team get into the front for the first time before Gordon, Papaloukas and Nesterovic allowed us to get 15-20 in front. A quick counter by Valencia brought the score back to 17-20 at the end of the first period.
For the second quarter, Ivkovic introduced Erceg into the team and the Serb repaid his choice with some red-hot play alongside Papaloukas and Spanoulis. Nesterovic in defence, closed down the defence well and stopped a lot of the Valencia attacks from happening. However Valencia did manage to make some headway exploiting some of our more hasty attacks and taking advantage of some errors made by Mavrokefalidis and Teodosic, gaining a 9 point break and bringing the score back to 25-26. Olympiakos however managed to sort themselves our and gained a 6 point break of their own before allowing Valencia back into the game. Thus, the second period continued in this style of play until the half time klaxon was sounded at a scoreline of 37-37.
At halftime, Ivkovic asked for an improved defence and the presence of Papaloukas and Grant helped Olympiakos keep the defence tight whilst allowing our attack to exploit the spanish defence and to bring the score to 43-46. Spanolis however was looking nervous on the court and so was replaced by Pelekanos so that we could try and find further solutions in play. Valencia unfortunately found some rhythym scoring enough points to get 6 points in front (54-48) and we looked to be in some trouble at this point. Jamon Gordon came into his own now and with enormous energy in both defence and attack decreased the score to 54-53 with just one minute of the quarter remaining. Unfortunately we then went on to miss the next three shots through Bourousis, Papaloukas and Spanoulis to allow the Spanish team to stay ahead in the quarter with 55-53.
As the last period began, the referees showwed some serious errors of judgement to allow the Spanish to get 59-53 in front after whistling for two non-existant fouls. We fought back though through Teodosic and managed to bring the scores back to within a single point before the referees again showed some serious poor calls in favour of Valencia. Teodosic continued his good work although Nielsen needed to be replaced after some poor play in this period. Two further errors by the arbitration ignored the baskets of Spanoulis and Teodosic although Nesterovic managed to close the scoring once again and get us in front with 71-73 just two and half minutes before the end of the game.
A frantic end to the game on both sides saw us finally put the game away and finish 79-85 to the good.
Valencia 79-85 Olympiakos
1st Quarter : Valencia 17-20 Olympiakos
2nd Quarter : Valencia 37-37 Olympiakos
3rd Quarter : Valencia 55-53 Olympiakos
4th Quarter : Valencia 79-85 Olympiakos
Olympiakos (Ivkovic) : Papaloukas 4, Nesterovic 16, Spanoulis 18, Bourousis 12, Pelikanos 4, Mavrokefalidis 6, Nielsen, Papanikolaou, Erceg 12, Teodosic 11, Gordon 2.