Maccabi Tel Aviv plays Milano Thursday at 21:05 Israel time at Yad Eliyahu as the Yellow & Blue will look to sweep their home double week of the 2019/20 season. With the 92-85 win over Barcelona on Tuesday, Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s side leapfrogged over the Spanish squad into third place with a 13-6 record. Ettore Messina’s team currently sit 10-9 in the standings good for 7th place and have won 3 of their last five games, but are coming over a 20-point loss to EFES 88-68 in Turkey which was their 6th road loss in a row.
“Milan might come into the game with a 6 game road losing streak, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous,” Sfairopoulos said ahead of the game. “We respect them, and although they have all of their injuries, they have a big roster with quality and their last loss will give them extra motivation. We need to be very focused, careful, and ready mentally to be tough to play against a good team.”
Angelo Caloiaro, who starred last game agreed with the coach, “Milan is a great team, well-coached, and every EuroLeague team is going to be tough, so opponent after opponent, you will have to bring your A-game. We know they are a good team, and we remember they beat us at their place. We take it one game at a time, we can only control what we can do and we can’t control what anyone else does. We don’t want to look at a bunch of games whether you are on a hot streak or a losing streak, you just have to look at the next task ahead of you. If you start looking to far down the road, you’ll start to struggle and that’s when bad things happen.”
One of the other stars against Barcelona Tyler Dorsey also commented about Maccabi’s Italian opponent, “Milan is a team that is looking for a win on the road, so it’s going to be another difficult game for us. They are now more motivated after losing the last one, so they will come in a mentality that they have to get this win.”
Is it advantageous to have both double week games at home? “Definitely,” exclaimed Dorsey. “When we had our double week away it was harder to win those two and we lost both. We have enough fuel in the tank, I like to play back to back games, especially if we win one, we just keep the rhythm and energy going into the next one. Having the energy and crowd is great to be here.”
Milano Coach Messina also looked ahead to the clash and understands just how difficult a job he has playing in Tel Aviv, “We face another physical and aggressive team so one more time defense, attention to the smallest details and shooting percentages will be the key factor of our game. Tel Aviv is an historically difficult place, so we will have to be ready to play a really tough game.”
Coach Sfairopoulos is well aware of what faces an opposing coach when their team visits Israel and is ready to take full advantage of what the home fans have to offer, “Once again, with a soldout crowd, I expect our fans to be our 6th player on the court.”