Pärnu Sadam are out of the FIBA Basketball Champions League at the first hurdle, after losing 82:80 to Swans Gmunden in the last minute of a round one qualifier played in Belgrade Wednesday.
Pärnu Sadam, the Estonian domestic champions, built up an eight-point lead close to the end of the first half, but the Swans put together 16 points in-a-row to reverse the situation.
Nevertheless, Pärnu held on, and held of star Swans player Dominic Green (US) adequately enough to bring things to 80 apiece nearing the end of normal time.
The Austrians scored their winning basket in controversial style after another US player, Urald King (pictured), knocked the ball out of Sverre Aav's hands, but no violation was called by the umpires.
Pärnu were unable to equalize with four seconds left on the clock.
Post-match, former top Estonian umpire Atso Matsalu told news portal Delfi's sports page (link in Estonian) that the adjudicators had: "Made a gross mistake. The ball was clearly in the hands of a Pärnu player, he was hit on the elbow from behind and the ball flew out of his hand."
Pärnu head coach Toomas Annuk stopped short of saying the same, adding that the team had been overpowered. "However, I don't want to start criticizing the judges' work and only hide behind it. Instead, there are other things that got stuck," he said.
Pärnu are thus out of the Champions League, though remain in the main FIBA cup, and face Den Bosch, Porto and Fribourg in their next games at European level.
Editor: Andrew Whyte