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14/09/2012 17:00
Azerbaijan improve their record to four consecutive wins
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Baku, Azerbaijan, September 14, 2012. The home ladies of Azerbaijan prolonged their winning streak in the European qualifier – Pool C also on home soil as they easily edged Finland in straight sets (25-23, 25-19, and 25-20) in the first day of action of the second round robin taking place in Baku.
The hosts caught a marvelous start (7:2) and got up 8:4 by the first technical time-out; the game was evidently controlled by the players mentored by Faig Garayev (14:6, 16:10) before Finland attempted a comeback and closed the gap up to 16:13. Natalya Mammadova got the home side back on track (19:14) but Finland stormed back once more and eventually drew level at 22. The final rush was extremely close but Azerbaijan eventually had the upper hand at 25-23.
Azerbaijan got to the front in the early phases of the second set (5:2) and Mammadova stretched the gap to 8:3; Finland tried to stay tuned (11:7) and eventually leveled at 12; Azerbaijan changed gear after the second technical time-out (16:15, 23:17) and finally pocketed the provisional 2:0 (25-19).
The game followed a similar plot in set 3 with Azerbaijan setting the pace (5:2, 8:3) and keeping a good margin (12:7) before Finland clawed back to 12:10. After a break asked by Garayev, the home heroines pushed to go up 20:16 and 23:18 before closing the game in straight sets (25-20).

In the other match of the day Belarus defeated Austria 3:0 (25-18, 25-18, and 25-13) to keep the second place in the standings of the group. The match was initially very close (5:5) with Austria even going up 8:7, before Belarus got the initiative (16:12, 21:16) and controlled the game up to the final 25-18. Belarus stretched that momentum to the second set (6:2, 8:3, 14:6) and rapidly cruised to a second 25-18. Austria could not keep the pace of their opponents also in the third set (5:1, 16:6) and Belarus easily wrapped it up with a massive 25-13 anchored by Marina Tumas who totaled 18 points.

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