Belgrade’s Crvena zvezda MTS played their best match of the season so far. Dedicating the Eurocup win against Galatasaray (87:57) to Marko Ivković, a fan whose life was tragically cut short in Istanbul by a group of Galatasaray ultras.
The murder of Marko Ivković occurred in the fall of 2014, yet his name and tragedy are very much alive in the mind of Serbian fans on all sides. The final score in Istanbul was irrelevant, as one university student never came home. He was only 25.
One conviction was made, while six other suspects were released. The stabbing of Ivković caused international outrage amongst fans and some media. However, it became a deplorable element of provocation for some Turkish and Albanian ultras.
As time passes by, this life lost is an increasingly important motive for Zvezda to get that W, when playing Galatasaray. Tonight’s match at the Aleksandar Nikolić Hall was a true example of how much fire the story of Marko Ivković brings into play.
Tonight’s crowd of over 5000 fans made sure the stakes were clear, with the atmosphere finally on satisfactory levels.
Zvezda’s offense line, formed by the fantastic Billy Baron and Joe Ragland finally got in tune. The defense is showing less weak spots, as Zirbes seems to be finding shape, while Mo Faye pulled another good match with 12 points and 6 rebs.
Galatasaray was going for the easy three-pointers. However, they got only 15% in; unlike the free-throws where they got a routine 70%, which helped them stay afloat in the first twenty minutes.
The guests’ most valuable player was Zach Auguste, with 14 points and 9 rebs. Galatasaray’s game was brought down to chasing after potential loopholes in Zvezda’s structure. Getting to play their full game during only six minutes. The thirty points between the two teams are testament enough.
Radanov was slowing down the play in the final ten seconds. The standard protocol after having over 20 points of advantage. However, the crowd cheered him on. They wanted the team to get to 30. They got their wish.
As both teams are left to analyze the four quarters, Zvezda is reaching the number one spot of group A after the first 5 rounds.