Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague action.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Despite losing its past five Euroleague road games by an average 18.4 points per contest, Maccabi Tel Aviv enters Friday’s visit to Olimpia Milano confident it can claim a first continental win away from Yad Eliyahu Arena in more than two months.
Maccabi hasn’t won a Euroleague road encounter since defeating Khimki Moscow in Russia on November 16, being outplayed in visits to Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and Olympiacos.
However, after getting back on track with a home win over Red Star Belgrade last week to move to a 10-9 record and remain in the top eight in the standings, and with Milano sitting tied for the second-worst record (6-13) in the competition, Maccabi knows it will not get a better chance to end its road drought.
After playing five games in 10 days and having little time to practice, Maccabi has been off since suffering a surprise defeat to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in BSL action last Saturday.
“Five games in 10 days wasn’t easy, I really felt how difficult it was for us, but the last couple of days were really helpful,” said Maccabi coach Neven Spahija. “We’ll see the result against Milan, but I think we did a good job in the last couple of days preparing.”
Maccabi beat Milano 79-68 when the teams met in Tel Aviv at the start of November. American guard Andrew Goudelock, who played for Maccabi last season, is Olimpia’s top scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game.
“To stay in the game we will have to repeat what we did during the last couple of games in terms of moving the ball, setting the tempo and attacking with confidence with several players,” said Milano coach Simone Pianigiani, with Olimpia beating Unicaja Malaga and Baskonia Vitoria in its last two games. “We know we can play with them but in order to win for the first time against a playoff team we will have to raise our competitiveness and physicality.”