Both Zvezda and Partizan have triumphed in their away matches tonight, showing excellent European shape ahead of the holidays. The two sets of iconic Belgrade stripes ousted their rivals in key Euroleague features.
Zvezda beat Olympiacos at the iconic Peace and Friendship Stadium (90:86).
This amazing team effort gave Zvezda fans a taste of a team that doesn’t depend on individual form, or someone’s energized night. Petrušev, Mitrović, Nedović all kept their part of the game packed. However, this squad stability also opened the space for another stellar performance by Argentina star Luca Vildoza. The Fall Fan favorite scored 22 points with 10/11 from the free throw line, fitting beautifully into the Belgrade side.
Watching the game in Piraeus, it is nearly impossible to believe that this is the team that lost to Zadar in Belgrade – for the first time in twelve years. This November ABA League shock created tectonic changes and brought head coach Duško Ivanović to Belgrade. The absolute turnaround in player mentality and team renditions began showing only days after the Montenegrin expert took over. “There is no such thing as tiredness”, Ivanović’ famous motto is clearly paying off.
Partizan grabbed crucial points from Round 15, ousting Fenerbahce at the Ulker (73:72).
The match in Istanbul carried enormous tension throughout the evening, allowing European basketball fans to enjoy in every phase. As expected for a home play, Fenerbahce were in a fairly comfortable lead even in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the players of coach Željko Obradović, an adored figure in Turkey, were able to propel themselves closer.
The Black and Whites first took the draw through Leday (8p), followed by a minimal lead thanks to fan favorite Avramović (6p), who was able to play after all. The Belgrade Black and Whites then firmly held onto their defence, ensuring their return home was triumphant. Tonight’s top scorer for Partizan was Kevin Punter (17p, 2/3 at the 2FG).
Ahead of wrapping Euroleague Round 15 on Friday, both Zvezda and Partizan have improved their standings. Zvezda is now 8th and part of the Top 8, having turned a full 180, after holding the last position only weeks before.
Partizan have risen to #13, with fan optimism for much more.
Tonight is one of those nights where being a basketball fan in Serbia feels truly great.