SPORTS

Euroleague draw gives hope to Greens, Reds

Panathinaikos and Olympiakos are satisfied with the results of the draw for the second group stage of the Euroleague, conducted yesterday afternoon in Barcelona. Panathinaikos has been drawn in the group with Spain’s Unicaja Malaga, Italy’s Roma and Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade. The Greek champion will start its games in the Top 16 by hosting Partizan on January 28 or 29, before traveling to Malaga to face the top-seeded team of the group. Olympiakos had an even better draw, as it will face Spain’s Tau Ceramica, Italy’s Armani Jeans Milano and Poland’s Prokom Trefl. The Reds start their games with a trip to Milan to face Armani Jeans on January 28 or 29 and then entertain Tau on February 4 or 5. «There are no easy groups at this stage of the Euroleague,» said Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic. «At the moment, the other three teams have a better chance of qualifying as we are going through a bad spell and the road will be very hard for us,» the Serb coach added, still reeling from his club’s second loss in the league last Saturday. «The level of the competition is very high and therefore all teams are strong. We want to play well and we have the talent to beat anybody, provided of course that we perform the way we should,» said Olympiakos coach Panayiotis Yiannakis in response to news of the draw. Greek clubs were lucky to steer clear of cup-holders CSKA Moscow and the first-round impressive Barcelona, which was drawn against perennial domestic rival Real Madrid. The top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals of the Euroleague, Europe’s biggest club competition.