Latina, Italy, March 26, 2014. For a second consecutive year in a row, the men’s team of Andreoli LATINA has reached a European Cup final and once again it is facing a Turkish powerhouse. After losing to Halkbank ANKARA the final battle for the 2013 CEV Volleyball Cup, the Italian squad is eager to make amends against Fenerbahçe Grundig ISTANBUL in the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Мen with the two legs scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday of this week in Latina and Istanbul, respectively.
Sasa Starovic, Todor Skrimov and their teammates made their dress rehearsal for tonight’s clash with Ivan Miljkovic & Co. by shutting out CMC RAVENNA at home in their last match of the Italian domestic league regular season. Despite finishing bottom of the rankings in the Serie A1, the team from Latina does not feel like the underdog against the Turkish standout – winner of the regular season in the Acibadem Ligi.
"They are a very good team with three extraordinary players - Ivan Miljkovic, Leonel Marshall and Luis Felipe Marques Fonteles, who are the backbone of the squad,” Dario Simoni, head coach of Andreoli, comments. “They are excellent high ball spikers with a good jump serve. In such matches it is important that players generally give their best. It will be a difficult encounter, but we do not feel like the underdogs. It is crucial to win the three points from this first match before the away game in Turkey."
"This is a game that we have been waiting for a long time and we have prepared for in the best way,” Andreoli player Pasquale Sottile adds. “We are facing a tough opponent, but we have to try to play our game and be aggressive from start to finish. They have three key players, with a lot of experience who do not make many mistakes in matches like this, but we must think of ourselves as stronger than them. Hopefully there will be many spectators on the stands to support us and to help us."
"I hope that the high stakes will encourage all our players to do their best,” says the president of the club from Latina Gianrio Falivene. “The bitterness from last year’s final has not yet gone away. This time we have to do what we could not do last year. As we are going back to Turkey, the story should have its twists and turns. Let us not forget that destiny gave us a chance to play in this tournament and brought us back to the same place where we left off with a bad taste in our mouth last year."
Interestingly, both finalists did not qualify directly to this season’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup. While Fenerbahce had to win the BVA Cup to earn its place in the competition, Andreoli received this opportunity after some other Italian clubs decided not to take advantage of it.
The first leg of the final battle between Andreoli and Fenerbahce is set to start at 20:30 local time on Wednesday evening at the Palabianchini competition hall in Latina.
Click here for more details on today’s final and/or here to watch it live on LAOLA1.tv.