Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2014. Fenerbahçe Grundig ISTANBUL wasted no time in winning the second leg of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men's final to triumph with a historic first continental trophy. The Turkish team shut out visiting Andreoli LATINA by 3:0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-17) and left no doubts over its superiority over its Italian opponent to claim its first European Cup ever.
Inspired by the support of 6,500 volleyball fans, among which the Fenerbahce Sports Club President Aziz Yildirim, in the magnificent Burhan Felek competition hall, the home heroes never allowed the opponent to take the lead in the score even for a moment in any of the three sets of the match.
They took a 3-0 advantage in the beginning of the first set and extended to 7-3 before letting Andreoli come back close behind them, but never completely closing the gap. Putting a lot more precision into their game, the Fenerbahce players once again broke away to get as far ahead of the opponents as 24-16. The Italians gathered all their strengths and stormed back to save as many as 6 set points for the home team, before surrendering the set at 22-25 upon a successful score by Ibrahim Basaran.
With some excellent serving from Ivan Miljkovic and better performance in both spiking and blocking, the Turkish team was in control for the most part of the second set, but Andreoli managed to level it at 15-15 and 16-16. However, Fenerbahce won the next six rallies in a row and never looked back to close the set at 25-19.
Already sensing the sweet taste of victory in their mouths, the home guys completely dominated on the court during the third set. The last time the score was tied was at 1-1. With a great performance by Leonel Marshall, Luis Felipe Marques Fonteles, Arslan Eksi and, of course, Miljkovic, Fenerbahce started piling up a lead that became as large as 8 points at 14-6. This is also how much the point difference was at the end of the set. Fenerbahce won it by the impressive 25-17 to get the party started.
With 19 points on his tally, Ivan Miljkovic
topped the scorers’ chart of the match. The Serbian star deservedly was voted and awarded as the Most Valuable Player (MVP)
. Sasa Starovic was Andreoli’s most prolific scorer with 16 points.
“I may be the MVP of the match, but this success I did not achieve by myself. I am very happy to win the Challenge Cup,” Miljkovic stated.
“We played well with a lot of help from our incredible fans. We wrote our names in Fenerbahce’s history. I am so proud of this team,” Arslan Eksi exclaimed.
“As I said yesterday, we were ready to win. My thanks go out to everybody – the players, the staff, the board members, the president... We are so happy," emotionally added head coach Daniel Castellani.
Click here for more info of the match.