Reze, France, March 1, 2014. The men’s team of Fenerbahçe Grundig ISTANBUL followed the example of the club’s women’s team from earlier today and qualified for a European final with a convincing straight-set away victory. The Turkish powerhouse defeated its hosts of NANTES Rezé Métropole by 3:0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-18) in the second semifinal leg of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Мen and having won by 3:1 earlier in the week at home, secured a precious spot in the crucial battle for the trophy.
In the absence of four players, sick or injured, the French team was not able to defend its chances. Spaniard Iban Perez, the most prolific player in the first leg, was injured in the right hand during practice the day before the match. With Alexander Shafranovich also injured, Martin Demar had to play this match with two setters and three middle blockers.
The first start was a real nightmare for NANTES. Leonel Marshall, the wing spiker who had not played in the first leg, scored 7 points and played great in reception to help Fenerbahçe rush to a 25-13 win, despite the support of 1200 cheering fans. The second set was a powerful demonstration of Ivan Miljkovic. The Serbian spiker was all over the net and the efforts of the French team’s captain Branislav Skladany and middle blocker Ales Holubec could not do much more than bring NANTES to 16 points in the set. With the European dream now over for the home team, its players finally seemed more relaxed and played without fear in the third set. Still Fenerbahçe was in complete control and put an end to the match with a 25-18.
Fenerbahçe’s Serbian star Ivan Miljkovic contributed 15 points to his team’s victory and became the game’s top scorer, followed by Raphaël Mrozek with 11 points for NANTES.
for more info including detailed stats of the match.
Fenerbahçe’s opponent in the final duel for the trophy will become known on Sunday evening when city rival ISTANBUL BBSK entertains Andreoli LATINA in the other semifinal’s second leg, following a straight-set loss in Italy.