BC Khimki coach Yuri Selikhov believes the decisions of he and his counterpart Stanislav Eremin could prove decisive in the final game of their FIBA Europe League quarter-final with UNICS Kazan on Wednesday.
There has been little to call between the two sides so far with Selikhov’s men claiming the honours in the opening match, before reigning champions UNICS struck back to ensure they go into the third and final match of the series all square.
|Nikolay Khryapa is out for the Khimki game with injury|
And Selikhov feels that is not only an indication of how far his team have come during the current campaign, but a fair representation of the series so far.
“We have the strongest opponents from the list of the FIBA Europe League quarter-finalists,” he told the club’s official website.
“We hadn’t won a game against UNICS before this series for a long time. But this season our club strengthened the squad and we aren't weaker than UNICS now.
“In my opinion, 1-1 after two games is an appropriate score,” added Selikhov, who has the luxury of having no fresh injury worries.
“Sometimes we play very well, like, for example, in the last quarter of the first game, which we won with a 20-point advantage.
“In the decisive game, much will depend on strategic ideas of the coaches and their implementation.”
UNICS head coach Eremin will also have to contend with injuries to forwards Ruslan Avleev and Nikolay Khryapa, while forward Aira Clark and guard Anton Yudin haven't been included in the FIBA Europe League roster.
Nevertheless, Eremin feels that his side will return to the Moscow region in better condition than they did for the first match of the series when they lost 95-85.
He also admitted they failed to hit their top form in their 83-75 win at home, but was encouraged by his side’s ability to cope with centers Denis Ershov and Ruben Wolkowisky.
“We didn't show our best performance even during the second game,” said Eremin.
“But we can prepare ourselves for the third game better than for the first.
“It's difficult to say why our rivals played badly in the beginning of the Kazan game as they played well at home. Maybe, they were nervous as they were closer to the whole win.
“I'm satisfied with the quality of our performance in the second quarter of the second game, especially in defence, as Ershov and Wolkowisky caused us many problems.”