Olympiakos may have topped its Euroleague group after the completion of the first round, but it is set to face some very strong opposition in the top-16 of the competition that starts on December 29, while Panathinaikos is in for a comparatively easier set of opponents, following its away win at Zalgiris that placed it third in its pool.
On Friday the Reds went down 81-68 at home to Anadolu Efes,in a game that would have no bearing on its standing.
Playing without Vassilis Spanoulis and Matt Lojeski, Olympiakos trailed for the entire game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium as Efes was clearly better on the night, particularly in its shooting rate.
Notably Olympiakos coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos was so upset with his players’ performance that he announced after the game that there will be an extra training session on Saturday morning at 8!
Olympiakos is now in the same group as Real Madrid, Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Khimki, Zalgiris Kaunas, Laboral Kutxa and Bamberg.
Panathinaikos had another erratic display, but managed to emerge victorious from the battle for its group’s third spot, meaning that it has avoided the group of death.
The Greeks won 75-72 at Kaunas on Thursday in a very tight game that could have easily gone either way. It all boiled down to the last three-point shot the Lithuanians attempted without success, allowing Panathinaikos to score its second win in five away games.
The Greens will now be in the group that also includes Malaga, Red Star Belgrade, Lokomotiv Kuban, Cedevita Zagreb, and three Turkish teams: Fenerbahce, Darussafaka and Efes. The top four teams of each group of eight advance to the play-offs.
In the Eurocup PAOK scored another Greek win in Lithuania on Wednesday, downing Lietuvos Rytas 88-81 at Vilnius to advance to the second group stage, where it will face Limoges, Valencia and Oldenburg.
Aris topped its group beating Turkey’s Banvit 73-52 at home on Tuesday and will share a group with Armani Milano, Neptunas and Alba Berlin.
AEK crashed out of the competition despite its 75-71 home win over Neptunas on Wednesday. Its coach Dragan Sakota resigned and will continue at AEK as a general manager, with his former assistant Sotiris Manolopoulos taking over as caretaker for now.