Evergreen Posted November 19, 2004 Share Posted November 19, 2004 Final-4 Paris 1996 Semi-Final Match, Panathinaikos versus CSKA Moscow: The Final Four games featured Panathinaikos–CSKA Moscow and Barcelona–Real Madrid. Although Panathinaikos had not played all that well during the qualifying group stages they won their most crucial games, notably a victory in Tel Aviv against Maccabi and then again in Treviso against Benneton. In the deciding 3rd game in Treviso, Vrankovic blocked the Serbian star Zeljko Rebraca in the final second to qualify PAO for the Final Four. The Palais de Berci can hold up to 10,000 fans and 8,000 of them were fans of Panathinaikos who had travelled from all over Europe to see their team finally being crowned European champions after the failed expeditions to Tel Aviv ’94 and Zaragosa ’95. In the semi-final, from the beginning of the game, an unstoppable Dominique Wilkins gave the Athenians a 10-12 lead of which PAO carried all game to win easily by 81-71. PANATHINAIKOS 81 CSKA MOSCOW 71 Panathinaikos (Bozidar Maljkovic): Alvertis 13, Ekonommu 8, Korfas 8, Stavrakopoulos 7, Vurzumis 2, Vrankovic 8, Yannakis, Wilkins 36. CSKA Moscow (Sergei Eremin): Karassev 23, Kissourin 7, Kornev 4, Kudelin 7, Morgunov 3, Nwosu 12, Panov 7, Vetra 8, Vadeev. Championship Match, Panathinaikos versus Barcelona: In the two previous seasons Olympiakos had failed in both finals of the Final Four. In Tel Aviv it was against Joventut Badalona with Cornelius Thompson sinking a big three and Zarko Paspalj missing 7 of 10 free throws during the game. The next year in Saragosa it was the rampaging Joe Arlaukas and Arvydas Sabonis who broke the hearts of the Pireans. Real Madrid with the support of the Panathinaikos fans won easily and the “Greens” and “Madrilenos” celebrated together though out the night of Zaragosa. PAO was favored in the final, but many thought the Spanish could actually accomplish winning 3 seasons in a row with three different clubs, something that had never been done before. The game started with “Pana” on top and that’s how it went throughout with the Shamrocks in control with 8-10 points. Wilkins was having a slow evening and it took the shooting instincts of the 21-year-old Fragiskos Alvertis to carry the team. Two minutes before the end though, things were to become dramatic. Barcelona with a rally of 3-pointers drew closer and closer to PAO, bringing the differential to 1 point! PAO now had the ball with 34 seconds left and were running down the clock until Yannakis slipped lost the ball, the clock for no reason froze at 4.3 secs with Juan Antonio Montero picking it up running off, on the fast break! The Greens' fans hearts were in their mouths! Stojan Vrankovic, seeing the danger, started running the most important 30 metres of his life, hurdling over the fallen bodies of Yannakis and John Korfas. Montero was by now under the basket and instead of dunking releases the ball in the air only for a flying Vrankovic to block his shot! The clock starts running again but it’s all too late for Barcelona, Panathinaikos are EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS!! The fans go into a frenzy and the PAO bench floods the court celebrating. Barcelona's players and coaches were appealing against the legality of the block and are proven right by the action replay. Vrankovic blocked the ball after it had struck the board. They will go on to make an official appeal for the legitimacy of the call only for it to be quashed by FIBA who did though later state that Barcelona did have grounds of complaint. The Greens would hit back and say that if the referees had awarded Nikos Economou with two clear fouls earlier the final would have never have come to that point. PAO also pointed out the fact that the clock had frozen and that the game should have been stopped at 4.3 seconds. It will remain in history as the most controversial finals ever. PANATHINAIKOS 67 BARCELONA 66 Panathinaikos (Bozidar Maljkovic): Alvertis 17, Economou 10, Yannakis 9, Korfas 4, Stavrakopoulos 9, Vourtzoumis 2, Vrankovic, Wilkins 16. Barcelona (Aito Reneses): Bosch ,Diez, 0, Fernandez 15, Galilea 10, Godfread 9, Jimenez 9, Karnisovas 23, Ferran, Montero. 3rd Place final: CSKA Moscow Real Madrid 74-73 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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