The match is over
26 October 2005 Wednesday / 19:00 MSD
The first loss came along with the snow
It was snowing almost all the day long at St.Petersburg as well as in Moscow. But fortunately it did not paralyze the traffic. It took CSKA a bit longer than usual to get to Jubileiny only for the practice in the morning.

Spartak SPb – CSKA: 84-75

Before the game Spartak made the lazer show. It was rather original. The only thing that spoiled everything was the music. It was just the same that CSKA uses for the kind of show for years.

As for the game itself. David Vanterpool took Zakhar Pashutin place in the staring five of the team. This means the line up experienced the second change in 5 games. As well as in the most of the other games in the beginning the Army club tried to get used to the rival. The head coach of the team Ettore Messina was looking for the right five players on the court for the moment and almost all the main players had a chance to enter the game in the first 7 minutes. Finally with 2 minutes to go in the quarter the ‘perfect five’ of the moment seemed to be found. Papaloukas, Holden, Pashutin, Smodis and Savrasenko made a 5-1 run in 120 seconds and set the score on 18-13 mark.

But in the second quarter came the series of the mistakes in the defense – 21-22 as a result. And it seemed to be necessary to continue the rotation of the line up. Panov and Andersen stepped on the court, but they did not make the team any better and the head coach was forced to take a time out with 5.19 to go in the second quarter. CSKA finally became the leader thanks to several difficult points in the offence by J.R. Holden and David Andersen -30-26 and later 35-29. But in the last two minutes the Army club did the best to find any combination in the defense that can work out later. All the players and coaches attention was focused only on the defense in this period of time. But Spartak went through the rival’s experiment and even managed to score in the last possession in the first half – 36-31.

The third quarter used to be the most successful for CSKA in the previous games but not this time. The Army club tried to change the rhythm of the game and to play faster but the team left too much space in the defense for Spartak. Only by the middle of the period CSKA managed to built double digits difference – 48-35. Spartak was brought back to life with the threepointers of Anton Ponkrashov. Russian National team candidate made three in a row – 53-50 with 1.32 to go. And the shot of Sergey Vorotnikov that hit CSKA basket in the same moment with the buzz made Spartak the leader after the 3rd quarter.

It seemed like CSKA started the last quarter motivated and focused on the game. But it was just an impression and probably the way the team looked. On the court the team did not show it anyhow – the mistakes continued and even in the offence CSKA scored the first points only with 7.22 to go – 60-57 in Spartak favor. The host team started to feel the smell of the blood. The historical win was closer than ever. It made the Spartak players do things they probably was not able to do even 10 minutes before. Ettore Messina took another time out in the middle of the half. After it almost every player on the team put some effort to help CSKA survive. Some of the players tried to do it individually, others tried to organize the team. But the effort was less than Spartak motivation – 84-75.

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