The leader of CSKA Moscow basketball club, Andrey Kirilenko, believes that all the participants of the Euroleague’s Final Four have equal chances of bagging the trophy.
CSKA will take on defending champions Panathinaikos in Istanbul, Turkey on May 11, with Barcelona and Olympiakos making the second semifinal pair.
“Every little thing will be important,” Kirilenko told R-Sport news agency. “It’ll be important how we start a game, how we deal with our rivals’ leaders and the packed stands as I'm sure many Panathinaikos fans will come, how we’ll cope with problems in our own game and how good our level of fitness will be. There are many factors. There’s no single recipe for such type of games and it’s impossible to predict the outcome.”
CSKA had an impressive run in this season’s Euroleague, suffering just two defeats on their way to the Final Four and also topping Panathinaikos in both of their previous meetings.
“Yes, there were two wins against this team, but it means nothing,” the former Utah Jazz man said. “Now, in the Final Four the strongest teams in Europe are gathered and every game will be like a lottery. Panathinaikos are a dangerous and very serious rival, who have already won this trophy. They have a good coach, experienced players. It will be very, very hard.”
CSKA Moscow will be looking for their seventh Euroleague title in Istanbul, with all their opponents also tasting success in the continent’s top basketball competition.
Panathinaikos has six trophies, Barcelona have won the event twice, while Olympiakos also triumphed in the Final Four back in 1997.
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