Final Four: Maccabi fans paint Madrid yellow

Even more fans are expected to arrive, aiming to witness history in the making, when Maccabi faces CSKA Moscow.

Maccabi TA fans 224 (photo credit: AP [file])
Maccabi TA fans 224
(photo credit: AP [file])
Thousands of Maccabi Tel Aviv fans adorned in yellow filled the streets of Madrid over the weekend, celebrating their team's somewhat unexpected victory in the Euroleague semifinal. Even more fans are expected to arrive, aiming to witness history in the making, when Maccabi faces CSKA Moscow in the final at the Madrid Sports Palace. The atmosphere of joy was mixed with relief after the Israeli champion managed to come back from 18 points down to defeat Montepashci Siena. Avi Levy, 27, from Bat Yam appeared to still be in a state of delirium as he walked around the shopping area of the Plaza Felipe II close to the sports palace on Saturday afternoon. "We feel wonderful. We came back from the grave and please God we will take the trophy tomorrow," he said. "Tomorrow will be the revenge," he added confidently, in reference to the losses Maccabi suffered to CSKA in the 2006 final and the 2007 quarters. "My friends who stayed for the second game said Tau played better even though they lost. But it doesn't matter. Those who come tomorrow will see Maccabi take the cup." Levy said that although many of the fans sitting with him at the semifinal had given up hope by half time, he always felt a victory was possible. "At the end of the first quarter we were depressed. But I believed. I don't know where the belief came from, but I believed." Michel from the town of Kiryat Bialik near Haifa was one of the many Tel Aviv supporters who came to Madrid without a ticket and bought off a tout outside the arena for around 125 euros. "We came without any tickets, but we found some. In the end there wasn't a lack of tickets and tomorrow [Sunday] we will also find some. You find Jews in every place. If they found bread in the Holocaust we will find tickets," he said. But it wasn't only the Israelis who were celebrating late into the night. The Geographic restaurant/pub down the road from the arena has been taken over by CSKA fans and was rocking until late into Friday night with hundreds of Russians singing traditional songs and downing shots of vodka. Despite their teams' defeats, supporters of the losing semifinalists, Siena and Tau Vitoria, were also in good spirits after their games and mixed freely with fans from all over Europe. "I'm disappointed but I'm still enjoying myself," said Gianluigi from Italy. "It's a great event."