Barcelona out for revenge after Real’s controversial winning start to final

Epic first match of series ended with close call going the home team’s way

Sergio Rodríguez (l) put in a strong performance for Real in the first match.
Sergio Rodríguez (l) put in a strong performance for Real in the first match.PACO CAMPOS (EFE)

The stage is set for the resumption of what is shaping up to be a truly classic ACB Liga basketball final series on Tuesday night (9pm on Teledeporte and Esport 3), with Barcelona seeking revenge after a controversial final-minute defeat in the first match on Sunday.

The second of the best-of-five series in the capital sees Real return to what the reigning champion considers a crime scene after the referee failed to call a foul under the home team’s basket in the closing seconds, awarding possession to Real in the process.

A controversial end to the game saw Barça's Víctor Sada denied a match-winning opportunity by the hand of Rodríguez at 73-72. The Catalans cried for a foul but the officials indicated a Madrid throw. "Sergio Rodríguez, in a gesture that does him proud, has admitted to me that it was a foul," Sada said. "I felt contact and I felt that they fouled me. What's more, at the very least, it was Barça's possession."

For Real it was the feverish tempo set by Sergio Rodríguez and the rebounds of Felipe Reyes which allowed the home team to recover 12 points in the last 11 minutes to earn a 76-72 victory.

Sergio Llull and Rudy Fernández got the match off to a fizzing start for this year's Euroleague finalist, which finished the first quarter with a 21-14 lead before Barça gritted its teeth, tightened up at the back and mixed things up going forward. The result was devastating for Madrid with Barça accelerating to a 35-45 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter Barça's advantage stretched beyond 10 points and all that was left for Real was to hope Rodríguez, Llull and Jaycee Carroll could find a chink in the armor. It worked. The big push brought the teams level on 65 apiece with three minutes on the clock. Juan Carlos Navarro scored five points in succession to keep Barça's hold on the reins but then along came Rodríguez with 12 points in the last 10 minutes.

The third and, if necessary, fourth games are scheduled to be played in Barcelona, with the decisive fifth match to be held back in Madrid, if it is required.

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