Real Madrid edged out their Spanish counterparts Barcelona at London’s O2 Arena on Friday to book a place in the Euroleague final.
In what was a pulsating contest, Madrid had just enough quality to see off their rivals 74-67 and secure their first final appearance in the competition since 1995.
Barcelona actually made much of the early running, with impressive performances from Ante Tomic and Marcelinho Huertas helping to put the Catalans into an 18-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Sergio Llull’s contribution of 11 points in the second quarter gave Madrid a way back into the tie and Madrid took the lead for the first time when they edged ahead 27-26. Impressive scoring from Tomic and a put-back from Felipe Reyes ensured Madrid held the advantage after 20 minutes with a 39-33 lead.
In the third quarter, Barcelona battled back and first drew level through a Tomic dunk before then finding themselves behind thanks to Rudy Fernandez. More impressive play from Huertas ensured his side were ahead 51-48 at the end of the third quarter, with the game finely poised.
Madrid quickly found themselves further behind, but Reyes showed his quality to score five points and bring the scores level. From then on Madrid were never behind again thanks to the efforts of Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez – the latter finishing with an impressive 13 points and nine assists.
The pair combined well in the last seconds of the game to put the tie out of reach for Barcelona and book a place in the final for Madrid, where they will face reigning champions Olympiacos.