Home win for Slovenia as Moldova causes sensation by edging Hungary
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men
Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 24, 2013. Slovenia and Moldova claimed their first matches at the first-round qualification tournament for the FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship running this weekend in Ljubljana. Slovenia beat Israel 3:1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, and 25-22), while Moldova got past Hungary with the same score (3:1; 25-18, 25-22, 28-30, and 25-18).
Slovenia started its qualification campaign with a victory against Israel in front of 850 fans, but had to fight hard for the three points. The home team mentored by Luka Slabe won the first two sets with ease and it seemed as if they would cruise through the match easily. In the first set, Slovenia was up 19:15, but Israel kept pushing and closed in at 22:21. But it wasn’t enough and Slovenia’s captain Tine Urnaut set the final score at 25-22. His good performance continued in the second set and Slovenia was 16:11 up at the second technical time-out and the set ended at 25-18. However, Israel bounced back in the third set, when they took advantage of the problems on the Slovenian side. Israel was up 15:12 when Slabe made a few substitutions. It seemed as if this lifted the performance of the Slovenians, but in the end Israel prevailed with 25-20. The fourth set was again very close and the teams were tied until 14:14 and then again at 21:21, but in the end the Slovenian players managed to wrap the match up. Luka Slabe was satisfied with the win, but not with the performance. “We still have many reserves in all elements of the game. We will play Hungary tomorrow, which is probably a better team than Israel. We definitely need to play better.”
Israeli head coach Zohar Bar Netzer stressed the team wasn’t in the best shape, but added it was a good performance against the favourite of the group, Slovenia. He hopes his team will be better prepared for the next match.
The second match of the day between Moldova and Hungary ended with a clear and surprising win for Moldova. Both teams started the match carefully and none of them managed to gain a big lead until the second technical time-out, when the side led by Russian coach Artur Romascan stepped up its game and won the set 25-18. The second was close at the beginning as well, but the Moldovans continued with a good performance and won 25-22. In the third set, Hungary fought hard for the chance to remain in the match and in the end won the set 30-28. The Moldovans didn’t feel threatened by the lost set and pushed Hungary from the beginning of the fourth set. They didn’t give their opponent any chance to come back and won the fourth set clearly with 25-18. The head coach of Moldova Artur Romascan said his team was better technically, while his first setter Marin Lescov added: “We came here to Slovenia to do a good job, although we have a young team. We didn’t start well, but during the match our performance improved. This is a very good result for us and our country.”
Hungary’s captain Szabolcs Nemeth said the team didn’t play as good as it can, which made it easier for the others to play their own game. “This was a match that we should have won, but this is sport. We will try to win against the home team tomorrow.”
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