Qualified for the first time in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague, the Roca Team dreams of achieving the feat of dismissing Olympiakos at home to join the Final Four.
Monaco has the opportunity to write a new page of French basketball on Wednesday (8:30 p.m.) during a match against Olympiakos in the quarter-finals of the Euroleague, in the boiling stadium of Peace and Friendship from Piraeus, a highly symbolic place. The “Roca Team” is forty minutes away from ending a long, very long scarcity of a quarter of a century for French basketball.
Since Villeurbanne’s fourth place in 1997 (defeat in the semi-finals against FC Barcelona then against Olimpija Ljubljana for 3rd place), no representative of the French championship has made it to the Final 4 of the Euroleague. Nothing but the last French presence in the quarter-finals of the queen competition of European basketball already dates back to Asvel in 2001.
Qualified for the first time in its history in the Euroleague thanks to its success in the Eurocoupe (antechamber of the C1) last season, Monaco does not stop surprising, as evidenced by its victory four days ago at home (78-77 ) against Olympiakos, in front of Kevin Durant, friend of Mike James, completely conquered.
An equalization with two victories everywhere which results in the right to taste the thrills of very great European evenings, those where qualification is at stake on a match, in a mythical room, the Stade de la Paix et de l’Amitié where Limoges notched the first – and so far only – triumph for a French club in the Euroleague.
Home team have always won game 5
«I think they will shake“, predicted Yakuba Ouattara at the end of match 4. “This is a totally different match from the others in the series. Everything can happen. They are the favourites. They have the experience, they are in front of their public. But they will have the pressure“, he added.
A different match certainly, but with statistics very clearly in favor of the teams receiving a match 5 in Euroleague: since the introduction of this system during the 2008/09 season, thirteen meetings ended in the last match and all were won by the home team. “On our side, we have nothing to lose. We’re gonna give everything. We are in a position to reverse them“, wants to believe Ouattara.
Monegasque “energy” and “heart”
Once is not custom, the Monegasques had time to “regenerate“, a slogan on everyone’s lips in the Principality, because the Roca Team did not have a championship match between match 4 and match 5. Alpha Diallo, injured in a thigh and absent since the second match in Piraeus, is traveling to Greece, but the staff “evaluate on a daily basis. There is a possibility that he could play on Wednesday “Notes Monaco coach Sasa Obradovic.
Dominated in the home game in matches 3 and 4, Mike James’ teammates have always hung on to make incredible comebacks, sometimes paying off. A state of mind that will once again have to be shown in Piraeus and on which Sasa Obradovic is counting. “I rely on our current energy and heart. You will have to know how to balance between the pragmatic side, the ability to keep emotions away, and this energy“, he explained four days ago.
The experience will clearly be in favor of Olympiakos, used to decisive European games, but who have not played in Final 4 since 2017 (final lost against Fenerbahçe). Olympiakos point guard Kostas Sloukas, winner of the competition in 2012 and 2013 in the Piraeus jersey (then in 2017 with Fenerbahçe), will be one of the players on the Greek side to be neutralized, so that Monaco can hope to succeed. feat.
For its most successful match of the series, the Roca Team had won 96 to 72 in match 2. Luckily, it was in Piraeus. Obradovic’s players therefore know the recipe for “to air-condition» the Greek room.