Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, March 26, 2014. The Russian European Cups rookie Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD made another giant step towards a historic success in its debut season in continental club competitions. Head coach Plamen Konstantinov’s team crushed visiting PARIS Volley by 3:0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-21) in the first final match of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men. This way, Guberniya needs to win only two sets from the return encounter in the French capital on Saturday, starting at 20:00 local time, to triumph with the trophy.
Inspired by close to 2 thousand supporters, the home side left no doubts over its superiority in the first set. Guberniya rushed to a 4-0 lead and, displaying some great serving and blocking efforts, never looked back. PARIS looked lost as its players committed way too many unforced errors to give the set away without a real fight – 15-25. In the second set, the Russian squad further improved its blocking and attacking performance and, despite the opponents being able to stay in contention through 13-13, made an impressive run for the final 25-18. PARIS tried to fight back with some good blocking and started the third set with a 5-2 lead, but this did not last long. The score was tied at 8-8 and the visiting team never took the lead again. Dorian Rougeyron’s players again started making far too many mistakes and lost the set by 21-25 and the match by 0:3.
Mory Sidibé was responsible for 16 of PARIS Volley’s points to become the best scorer of the match. Nikolay Pavlov was the most prolific player of the winning team, contributing 15 points to Guberniya’s victory, as Alexey Kuleshov added 11.
“It is not easy to speak, when you lose a game, but 0-3 seems to me too much for today,” Sidibe commented after the match. “We could have done better today, but we still hope to win at home. We were outplayed by the Russians. In the second and the third sets we were very close, but missed some small details. We could not ground the ball after a good play in defence, for example, and it was the key point of the match.”
Dorian Rougeyron looked a little upset when the game was over: “The Russian team was very good tonight, and if we want to win the second game, we should believe that it is possible to do. It seems to me that my guys feel that Guberniya is too strong for us. Without it we will have no chance on Saturday.”
His Guberniya counterpart Plamen Konstantinov was, of course, shining bright like a diamond: “Today we prepared very well for the game despite some bad results in our national championship. Our team has two different faces and shows the best one in Europe. PARIS Volley is a strong team, but we were ready and our scouts worked very well. My players did their best, but this was only the first game. The second one for sure will be much more difficult. Unfortunately, it will be in France and we should know that two games are never quite the same. We should be ready for a tough match on Saturday.”
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