Football and Basketball Teams Start Out on the Wrong Foot
The Estonian national basketball team and football champion Nõmme Kalju both were in action on Thursday evening hoping to qualify for international tournaments, but each lost its first game of two.
The national basketball team lost against Belarus 70:76, but still retains hope of qualifying for the 2015 European Championship.
Estonia began well, pulling ahead in the first quarter with a score of 25:21, but then lost the next two quarters, by seven and five points, respectively, before pulling two points back in the final quarter.
Reinar Hallik shone for Estonia, collecting 21 points, while Janar Talts made ten rebounds and seven points.
Estonia will now have to defeat Belarus by at least seven points in the second leg game, to be played in Tallinn on Sunday, if it is to go on to face the winner of the Switzerland-Bulgaria match for a qualifying spot.
Nõmme Kalju were hoping to qualify for the group stage of the Europa League, but will have to cause a major upset in Ukraine in the second leg match against Dnipro Dniproetrovsk next week if they hope to overturn the 1-3 deficit they suffered in Tallinn yesterday.
The game, held at the A. Le Coq Arena, began badly for the hosts when on the 23rd minute Jevhen Seleznjov realized a questionable penalty after a foul by Yankuba Ceesay.
Dnipro followed up the goal with two more, on the 36th and 53rd minutes, before Janar Toomet found the Ukrainian defense asleep and made it 1-3.