Serbia won 91 – 65 against Estonia in a very important game of the World Cup 2019 Qualifications in the “Aleksandar Nikolić” Sports Hall. Great part of the victory was due to the excellent support from 5700 people in Pionir (“Alekdandar Nikolić” Sports Hall).
Leading scorer in the home team (and MVP of the game) was Nemanja Bjelica with 14 points. The Sacramento Kings player also added 6 rebounds. Vladimir Lučić scored 11, while Stevan Jelovac and Miroslav Raduljica finished the match with 10 points each.
At the other side, Indrek Kajupank (from Estonia) scored 17 points (11 in the first half). Two more players had double-digits score and both of them made 12 points: Sander Raieste and Maik-Kalev Kotsar.
The Starting five for Serbia was Stefan Jović, Bogdan Bogdanović, Lučić, Bjelica and Nikola Milutinov, and the first points were scored by Bogdanović (3 points) who, soon after, went to the locker room due to a problem with a knee. After those points the Estonian team attacked the basket very well and due to that in the first few minutes it was and equal match. But after the first quarter the result was 22 – 16 for the home team.
In the second quarter Nedović scored the first points from the free throw line after he was fouled while trying to score for three (he made all three shots). And from that moment Đorđević’s squad took the control of the match. After the first 20 minutes, the hosts were leading by 16 (45 – 29).
Lučić, with 8 points, was the best scorer for Serbia after the first half, while, for the guests, Kajupank scored 11 points.
About three minutes before the end of the third quarter Serbia was leading by 30 (the score was 66 – 36) and only some major excess would left Đorđević’s team without a victory. In this quarter, for the first time in the match, Nikola Kalinić was on the court. The Result before the last period of the game was 74 – 40 for team Serbia. The Last points in the game was scored by Kalinić (3 points) for the final score of 91 – 65.
At the press conference the head coach of the national team, Aleksandar Đorđević, said that Bogdanović was sent to the locker room because they didn’t want to put him in the risk although it was not a serious injury.
Stefan Jović, the player of Munich, was already thinking about November window and the game against Israel (one of the main opponents of Serbia for the third place in the group L and the spot in World Cup 2019 in China).
“Lučić and me will play the day before in Tel Aviv and we are hoping that we’ll got the club permission to stay and help Serbia against Israel. There are many factors involved, like when will be the game in the German Championship, but we are eager to play for the national team. That is our wish, and if there won’t be a game in the German League the day after the game between Israel and Serbia, I don’t see the reason why we won’t get the permission to stay little longer in Israel”, said Jović in front of the journalist after the game.
For now, Serbia is still on the third position of the group L, but there is only one spot left because Greece and Germany are already qualified (also the Czech Republic, from Group K, only three of the 6 teams from each one of the 4 groups will Qualify to China). Đorđević’s squad has 5 wins and 3 defeats for now, while the two main opponents Israel and Georgia are on 3 wins and 5 losses.