Madrid-Partizan basketball game called off after brawl
MADRID (AP) — A EuroLeague basketball game between Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade on Thursday was called off with less than two minutes left after a brawl left the teams without enough players to keep playing.
Madrid was losing 95-80 at home — and about to go down 2-0 in their playoff series — when a hard foul by Madrid guard Sergio Llull on American forward Kevin Punter upset Partizan Belgrade players and led to the benches being cleared.
Punches were thrown and a couple of players, one from each team, were tossed to the ground by opponents during the melee in the Spanish capital.
Officials spent several minutes watching replays before deciding to call the game off with 1 minute, 40 seconds because “neither team had the requisite minimum of two players each required to finish the game” after all disqualifications were applied, the league said. The game was considered officially over with Partizan Belgrade as the winner.
“Euroleague Basketball strongly condemns the events that happened at the end of the game,” the league said. “Such events do not represent the values of respect that the league and its clubs promote and that the sport of basketball embodies.”
The league said its independent disciplinary judge “will issue a decision about the on-court incidents in accordance with the established proceedings within the following 24 hours.”
Partizan Belgrade coach Zeljko Obradovic said emotions took over the players, but “after the game they greeted each other” and it was all “finished and discussed between them."
“This is in the hands of the officials and in the hands of the EuroLeague," he said. “I believe that what happened is not good for the image of basketball, not good for the image of Real Madrid nor for Partizan. This should never happen. The players have emotions and this has happened.”
Obradovic pledged to try to calm Partizan Belgrade fans ahead of the third game of the best-of-five series, which is scheduled for Tuesday in Belgrade.
“When we go to Belgrade tomorrow, I’m going to talk about that,” he said. “I’m going to try to calm everybody so that we receive Real Madrid like the people here have received us. That they are going to support our team, yes, but that they are not going to do anything against Real Madrid.”
Partizan Belgrade won the first game in Madrid 89-87.
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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press