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Greek Triumph > Panathinaikos clinches European cup in Athens May 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.

Panathinaikos players (in green) compete for a loose ball with their CSKA Moscow opponents in yesterday’s Euroleague final at the OAKA indoor arena in Athens. The Athens side won its fourth European title after beating the Russian team, and previous European champion, 93-91.

greek_triumph.jpg  Panathinaikos won its fourth Euroleague title last night with a tense 93-91 victory over defending champion CSKA Moscow at a packed 18,000-capacity Olympic basketball arena in Athens.

The Athens club won its first Euroleague title in 1996 before proceeding with further triumphs in 2000 and 2002.

Panathinaikos led by a point at the quarter-time break but established a promising 10-point lead, 46-36, by half time as a result of effective attacking play. The Russians managed to cut this lead during the third period and overtook Panathinaikos for a 51-50 advantage. But Panathinaikos rebounded for a sturdy lead, 65-57, by the quarter’s end. Two three-pointers by American Trajan Langdon brought CSKA within two points with just over a minute of play remaining.

Both clubs were led to the final by two of European basketball’s most successful coaches. Panathinaikos’s Serb coach Zeljko Obradovic went into yesterday’s final having already won a record five European titles with four different clubs. Ettore Messina, CSKA Moscow’s Italian coach who led the Russian team to last year’s title, has won three European titles.

Earlier last night, Unicaja defeated fellow Spanish team Tau Ceramica 76-74 with a basket 1.2 seconds before the end to clinch third spot in the Final Four tournament.

Police reports said that 60 fans were held in custody at the Olympic Stadium’s police department in the lead-up to yesterday’s games after attempting to enter the arena without tickets.

The Greek capital is also preparing to stage another major sporting event later this month, the Champions League soccer final on May 23, when AC Milan and Liverpool meet for the European title.

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