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29/01/2021 10:45
Conegliano through to last eight
CEV Champions League Volley 2021

Luxembourg, January 29, 2020. A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano grabbed the first ticket to the quarterfinals of the CEV Champions League Volley 2021 Thursday night at Nantes, after sweeping the second leg of Pool B, remaining undefeated in the competition so far this season on a 6-0 record and staying on track for the only major title that still eludes them.

It was actually all over at the close of Day 2, when Conegliano secured their fifth straight-set win of the competition, shutting out hosts VB Nantes.

Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul had been the other contender for first place in the pool and an immediate berth in the last eight. But at that point nothing the Turkish side could do on the closing day would deny Conegliano the top spot in the group. That set that the Turkish side had dropped in the first leg to Calcit Volley Kamnik proved detrimental in giving Fenerbahce a shot (though, granted, a long one).

But even when Fenerbahce needed the win on the closing day to improve their chances of going through as one of the three best second-placed sides of pool play, an otherwise indifferent Conegliano denied them again after a great performance inspired by Paola Egonu. The Istanbul club will have to wait until next week, when the final count from the remaining four pools is in, to see if they make the top eight.

For the first time in days with a complete starting lineup that remained on court throughout the game, Conegliano put down Fenerbahce in four sets, extending their winning streak across all competitions and seasons to 45. That this was the first time anyone got a set off Conegliano this season in the Champions League was hardly any consolation for Fenerbahce.

Down the table, Calcit were hoping to register their first ever Champions League victory, when they came up against hosts Nantes - both sides having lost their previous matches of the second leg in straight sets.

Both sides had been down to earth, recognising all along (and sometimes in awe of) the power of Conegliano and Fenerbahce, so their focus was on this match.

And for a moment it actually seemed like Calcit might get this landmark victory they'd all been talking about, when they clinched the first set from the hosts. But as the match wore Nantes pulled together, errors started creeping in from the visitors' side and Calcit will now have to wait another year after going down in four sets.

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