The presidential basketball club «Astana» held its first game in the new season 2018/2019 at home against CSKA Moscow.
JJ Obrien, Anthony Clemmons, Kenneth Hortor and Jeffrey Grossel kickstarted the game, led by the permanent captain of the team, Rustam Yergali.
Under the cheering applause of the fans, the first quarter score was in favor of Astana 15:14. Obviously dissatisfied with the course of the game, CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis motivated his team. After that, CSKA started the more aggressive game and immediately got the upper hand. Five minutes prior to the end of the first half of the game, Astana managed to score only two points, while the opponent scored 15. After a timeout, Emil Raikovich gave instructions and Astana played, as in the first quarter, fastly catching up.
However, the second period ended with a score of 27-41 in favor of CSKA.
After the break, the players of “Astana” again attacked confidently and reduced the gap to one point. Anticipation hung in the air, the fans held their breath. But then a sharp three-pointer from Ivan Ukhov had hit the glass, and then a series of unanswered goals from CSKA followed. It is worth emphasizing that the leaders of “Astana” Rustam Yergali and Anthony Clemmons had already scored four personal fouls each, which made it difficult for the coach to take further actions. The further mischief to the team became an injury of the team's novice and the points leader, Jeffrey Grossel, who injured his arm during the game. In the final part of the game, Muscovites grabbed control over the game and took home the victory.
The most productive:
«Astana» head coach Emil Raykovich:
- It was not an easy game, considering that we are not yet fully staffed. I think that today our team made its best on the court. After all, we played against one of the best teams in Europe. We also made mistakes, and I'm talking about the things we can control. And what's more, there is the class and level of the opponent. In defense, CSKA used pressure and went well in a quick attack. In general, I want to note that we have a lot of work ahead, and this has been only the first game. We still have a lot to do. I congratulate the team of CSKA and coach Dimitris Itoudis on a victory! Good luck in the next games.
CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
- Congratulations to the team, we have completed our tour with a second victory. We had good moments in the game, but it is obvious that we need to work more. We need to be ready for more serious matches that are waiting ahead for us.
The next matches will be held at home, on October 9 and 10, Astana will host «Barsy Atyrau» basketball club as part of the regular Kazakhstan Championship among men's teams of the National League.
The next match of the VTB United League Astana will be held on the road, on October 13, the capital basketball players will go to the capital of Belarus, where they will meet with the local basketball club «Tsmoki Minsk».