Moldova shocks Israel, Luxembourg opens with straight victory
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Luxembourg, May 9, 2014. The Republic of Moldova was responsible for the major sensation of the first-round European qualifiers so far after the players from Chisinau opened the tournament held at d’Coque competition hall in Luxembourg City by routing pre-favorite Israel in three straight sets - 3:0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19). The competition in Pool 1 is set to continue on Friday evening with the home “Lions” of Luxembourg playing Lithuania.
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Republic of Moldova vs. Israel 3:0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19)
Israel’s head coach Zohar Bar Netzer and setter Ziv Bar Netzer had left the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg even before the start of the competition to return home after their father had passed away on the eve of the tournament. The Republic of Moldova used that opportunity to cause the first sensation of the competition cruising to a surprising straight-set victory. Moldova set the pace of the game all the way through to the end of the first set leading by four respectively two points at the first and second technical time-out. After trailing 4:8 in the second set, Moldova flipped the charts around leading by the slimmest margin at the second mandatory stop and did not look back to claim a shocking 2:0 lead. Things did not change also in the third set where Moldova controlled the game from the start to the end to claim an unexpected victory over the pre-favorites of the Pool. Moldova out-blocked Israel 11 to 8 and registered a higher efficiency in attack, with Denis Sintov and Dmitrii Bahov topping the charts with 16 points apiece. Alexander Shafarnovich and Itamar Stein paced Israel with 13 and 11 points respectively.
Luxembourg vs. Lithuania 3:0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-23)
The local heroes of Luxembourg delighted 550 fans cruising to a straight victory over Lithuania to open their quest for a ticket to the second round of qualifications coming up later this month. The three sets that the “Lions” played on Friday night were all very close but they showed strong nerves and the team spirit they are known for to get the upper hand and start the tournament with a very promising result. Luxembourg’s stats were better than those recorded by Lithuania and coach Burkard Disch was happy his men did stick to the plans they had worked on before this game. “A first victory at the European Championship makes us evidently very happy,” Disch commented. “We still have the chance to make another step forward with the matches coming up with Moldova and Israel.”