“We dream of returning home to our fans” Roman Sorkin and Maccabi ready for Real Madrid

Nov 28, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv will take on Real Madrid on Tuesday night (21:15) at their home away from home in Belgrade, Serbia in a makeup game that had been postponed from earlier in the season due to the Hamas massacre on southern Israel and the outbreak of the war that is currently going on in the Holy Land.

The yellow-and-blue will no doubt have a huge challenge on their hands with Los Blancos coming in at a perfect 9-0 while Oded Katash’s squad sits at 5-4 with their regularly scheduled game against ALBA Berlin slated for Thursday in a makeup double week.

Oded Katash – Photo credit: Djordje Kostic and Dragan Tesic

Maccabi will look to get back onto the winning track after falling to Barcelona last week in a thriller at the Pionir Arena in Belgrade and the bench boss is well aware that the clash was a winnable one and will need to be super focused against first place Real.

“The loss to Barcelona was very frustrating, especially after we saw the game. We weren’t focused on a lot of aspects that could have helped us win quite easily because offensively we played a good game and played correctly. Real Madrid is a different story, they have some players who are tiebreakers in their positions, they play with a lot of confidence, they are bigger players and are players with experience.”

While two of the most important cogs in the Madrid machine is Vincent Poirier, who The Sports Rabbi spoke to ahead of the contest as well as Walter Tavares, plenty of attention will need to be placed on their star point guard, Facundo Campazzo.

Antonius Cleveland – Photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv

Antonius Cleveland, arguably Maccabi’s best defender will be tasked with trying to limit Campazzo and the damage that he can do on, “We have to stick to the scouting report, run the floor hard in transition and just be aware that they have a great point guard. We can’t take any plays off and treat each one as if it’s the last. Don’t think you can take a play off because he can make you pay, so we must be focused when he has the ball.”

Karsh echoed his guard’s thoughts on the effect that Campazzo can have on the game, “We will have to be focused for the entire 40 minutes, mainly to prevent the easy points they make in the transition game, they know how to punish any team for every little mistake and if we are not focused then it will be difficult for us to win. With a player like Facundo Campazzo who returned to the team is one who knows the club and knows some of the players well along with the dominance of their big men who have a lot of experience, size and can shoot is a deadly combination. There is no surefire way to stop it, we’ll have to do all kinds of tricks to try and get them off of their pace. It won’t be easy, many things depend on Campazzo, as it usually happens with great players.”

Of course without fans in the stands for yet another game, the yellow-and-blue will have trouble picking Ulsh their energy but also having a 6th man at their disposal to try and rattle Chus Mateo and his Real Madrid team.

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We see some videos of the fans and we miss them,” Roman Sorkin explained. “We are playing here without our fans and it’s not the same. We are concentrating and already waiting to return to Yad Eliyahu, but there are more important and bigger things going on and because of that we are not there. We understand that, but we definitely dream of returning home.”

“Our head is always in Israel. We try to catch up and watch Israeli TV and the news here in Belgrade. Our hearts are in Israel, with the hostages and our soldiers and with the country. We try to stay focused on basketball even though it’s difficult, and you can say we’re getting used to it because we’ve been here for a while. My family is personally from the south, so I’m with them all day on the phone, calling, worrying and asking about them, but thank God everything is fine and we hope to get through it and get to see better days.”

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