Maccabi Tel Aviv’s hopes of repeating as Euroleague champion looked more realistic than ever on Thursday night, with the yellow-and-blue defeating previously unbeaten Real Madrid 90-86 in an enthralling encounter at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Maccabi moved tied with Real atop Top 16 Group E at 4-1, but just as important, proved once more that it is more than capable of competing and beating the teams considered to be among Europe’s best after also overcoming Barcelona two weeks ago.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis was at his bulldozing best and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds for Maccabi, with Marquez Haynes adding 17 points, including five three-pointers. Sylven Landesberg contributed 16 points while Devin Smith scored 14.
Felipe Reyes had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Real, which failed to avenge its defeat in last season’s final.
Real carved up Maccabi’s defense at will at the start of the night, but Sofo single-handedly kept the hosts in touch in the early stages, with his 10th point of the night bringing Maccabi within a single point (13-12).