Friday, June 2, 2023

AEK-Unicaja: final battle in Athens

Unicaja will be playing this Tuesday in Athens, what their path to the BCL Final Four will be like. If you win on the track AEK, will have a play off for the best of three games ahead of them in April with two duels at the Martín Carpena and only one on the track of their rival. If they lose, the path will be just the opposite, with only one game at home and two away. Two radically different options to pursue the same objective: to be one of the four finalists that they fight in May for the BCL 2022/2023

We are, without a doubt, facing 40 very important minutes for the future typesetter in Europe. It escapes no one that the Champions League is a primary objective for Unicaja this season. The Copa del Rey was won in Badalona, ​​unexpectedly, but the eyes were before and are still now focused on being able to organize that continental Final Four in May at the Martín Carpena, which will only be a reality if the greens are among the four finalists. and for that, winning in Athens seems paramount. Because with the quarterfinal playoffs, everything seems possible. But if you have to play the pass in Tenerife or Bonn, against the current leader of the German League…

Unicaja awaits a real “hell» greek. Of those of before, of those of that time in the 80 and 90 in which going to Thessaloniki or Athens was little less than torture. AEK will fill its arena with fans that are very pressing and who also know that they are facing a great opportunity for their team to finish group champion and have the home court factor in their favor in the quarterfinals. Last week, against Galatasaray, the stands were already key to his team’s victory. This time, Unicaja will be the one that has to overcome an atmosphere that is going to demand almost as much as its own rival on the floor.

Darío Brizuela, in the expedition

The green expedition is already in Athens. Among the expedition members Darío Brizuela traveled, whose presence in the party is still unknown. The Basque shooting guard has missed the last two matches for his team due to a grade 1 injury to the quadriceps in his left leg. The game is so important that only if the physios and doctors say it is dangerous, Dario will not play. The team needs all the players healthy today and surely the international shooting guard from San Sebastián has to help in such an important event.

The team played a good game against Barça this Sunday. A good version of the green and purple was seen, capable of competing with the rival and taking it to the limit. He did not win, but he rearmed himself in the face of what is to come. Repeating 40 serious minutes like this at the Ano Liosia Olympic Hall will be mandatory to seek victory and the long-awaited court factor for the quarterfinal playoff draw next Friday.

We have no more recent news about the rival than his match last Wednesday against Galatasaray. AEK did not play their league match against Promitheas Patras this Saturday. They are well rested and have had plenty of time to prepare for the final “battle” for the lead of the group. They have the loss of Strelnieks, one of their references, something that can affect them, especially since their external rotation is not excessively long either. Inside, since the arrival of Pierre Oriola, they are a more consistent team, as they have shown in recent weeks with their good play and their positive results.

Rebounding, running and being successful in shooting seem to be some of the keys to be able to beat AEK. That and that the game does not arrive tight at the last minute. If everything is decided in a final face or tail, the options of leaving the Ano Lyosia Olympic Hall “alive” will be much less because there the player “number 6” can pass sentence.

It is no exaggeration to say that “Half a Final Four” is at stake in this match. If Unicaja wins, they will get rid of Tenerife, Bonn and the winner this Wednesday of Strasbourg-Hapoel Jerusalem in the quarterfinals. But, above all, it will turn Carpena into a key to be a finalist, first, and European champion, later, in “his” Final Four. Everything is at stake in Athens. Good luck…


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