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Paris (AFP)- Beaten eight times in the last ten Euroleague matches, Villeurbanne plays an important card against Monaco on Tuesday evening (8:00 p.m.), for the classic of French basketball with two clubs which both hope to join the fight for the playoffs.
After a thunderous start to the season on the continental scene (6 wins in 8 matches), Asvel experienced a big air hole at the start of winter, and finds itself for the moment ejected from the first eight places of the Euroleague.
The epidemic resumption of Covid-19 due to the omicron wave forced the Euroleague to postpone and reschedule many matches. Charles Kahudi’s men occupy a very provisional 9th place with eight victories on the clock, one less than Efes Istanbul, who however played one more match than the Villeurbannais.
The opportunity to return to Efes is a great one for TJ Parker’s men, who have fond memories of the first leg against Monaco in the Euroleague, won in the Principality in the Gaston-Médecin room with a buzzer shot and almost own half of William Howard (85-84).
This first of three delayed Euroleague matches (the other two against Bayern Munich and St Petersburg are played on January 25 and March 1 respectively), comes at the start of a busy week with the reception of the Red Star Belgrade on Thursday and Roanne on Sunday in the French Championship.
For the Monegasques, this match in the Rhône will be an opportunity to confirm their return to form in the Euroleague since the arrival of Sasa Obradovic, appointed successor to Zvezdan Mitrovic in mid-December. The Roca Team won four times in six games, to regain color in the standings with eight wins in nineteen games.
“We are in the fight with Asvel for the Top 8, there is also a big stake. Curbing the Jones-Okobo duo will be one of the keys. They play the team and the team plays for them”, revealed Yakuba Ouattara, the back of Monaco.
Chris Jones and Elie Okobo are indeed the centerpieces of the Rhone workforce, respectively 13.8 and 16.3 points per game, and the two best evaluations of Asvel since the start of the Euroleague season ( 15.7 and 14.9).
“There is no big favorite, in either direction. Asvel will have the advantage of the field, and players who know each other well. We will see how we are able to respond physically”, explains Obradovic, who find the Principality after a stay between February 2019 and June 2020.
For the Monegasques, the issue of the play-offs is essential: unlike Villeurbanne which is guaranteed to play the C1 next season, the Roca Team owes its presence in the queen competition of European basketball to its coronation in Eurocoupe (C2) last year and must finish in the top eight of the Euroleague regular season to stay there in 2022/23.
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