The Roca Team failed to reach the EuroLeague Final Four for the second year in a row. After the great victory over the Turkish Fenerbahçe in Istanbul last Friday, the Principality’s basketball team was unable to win in front of its own audience at the Salle Gaston Medecin on Wednesday, May 8. Things ultimately went wrong in overtime with a bizarre ending, as the Roca Team gave away the lead in the last minute to lose by a point 79-80.

This defeat will cause eternal regret for coach Sasa Obradovic, whose team finished in third place in the regular season of the EuroLeague. But in the five games the differences were so small that Fenerbahçe is ultimately the winner based on two victories in overtime, both in Monaco. It is a hard lesson for the team, which will have to defend its title as French champions in the coming weeks. Normally the Roca Team is the favourite, but this elimination can cause a psychological blow.

Monaco was not able to really distance itself from the Turkish team in any of the five play-off games, which Obradovic feared for this confrontation. The game got off to a rough start, and after five minutes the score was only 3-6, but the hosts eventually took the lead at the end of the first quarter; 15-13. Elie Okobo already distinguished himself in this phase with a crucial action that gave the home team the lead. Alpha Diallo and Donta Hall also distinguished themselves with some highlights.

In the second quarter, The Roca Team started the second quarter ahead, but the Turkish team fought their way back into the game, slowly but surely (30-29). However, thanks to a three-pointer from Mike James, Monaco kept the lead. The scoreline stood at a favourable 40-35 to the hosts halfway through the game.

The third quarter was much the same as the second. First Monaco led away thanks to three three-pointers from James (55-48), but eventually Fener came back, and even took the lead at the end of the third quarter (55-56). This development was completely in line with what had already been shown between both teams in the past two weeks.

In the fourth quarter, the score gradually increased from 58-58 to 70-70. Every point was now decisive. James and Okobo took the team by the hand, with the latter providing valuable points in the final minute. At 70-70, the game had to be decided in overtime, just like in the first play-off game between the two teams two weeks ago.

James opened the scoring in overtime with a three-pointer. It seemed to free Monaco, but in the end, Fener did not give up after further points from Okobo and Diallo. Monaco took a 79-77 lead with 34 seconds left, thanks to James, who scored 20 points in this match. However, Fenerbahçe’s Calathes still scored from a three-pointer to get the visitors ahead by just one crucial point; 79-80.

Monaco had eighteen seconds to take the win but failed to do so due to an awkward loss of ball. The tears in Salle Gaston Médecin could no longer be prevented, while the Turkish legion started celebrating. An expensive defeat at the end of a good season in Europe, with bitter sentiment expected in coming days.

Featured image courtesy of @ASMonaco_Basket on X