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05/03/2020 23:35
Teams from Milan and Lisbon complete Challenge Cup semis
CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup 2020 - Men

Luxembourg, March 5, 2020.  Italy’s Allianz Powervolley Milano and Portugal’s Sporting Club Lisboa advanced to the semifinals of the men’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup 2020 and will face each other in a two-game to determine one of the finalists in the competition. On Thursday, the two teams emerged victorious from their quarterfinal match-ups with Estonia’s Saaremaa VC and Hungary’s Penzugyor Budapest.

In the closing match of this week’s European Cups action, Sporting Club Lisboa took only 67 minutes to master a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-21) victory over visitors Penzugyor Budapest. Having also won the first game in Hungary in five sets, the team from Lisbon reached the semifinals of the Challenge Cup for the second year in a row. In each of the three sets of Thursday’s match, Penzugyor were the first to take the lead, but soon after, Sporting took over and cruised comfortably on to win. In addition to dominating with their attack, spearheaded by the game’s top scorer Angel Dennis Diaz (21 points), the hosts impressed with the three aces in the first set, courtesy of Thiago Sens, who became the second best scorer of the match on a total of 13 points, and their five stuff blocks in the third set. Daniel Kiss was Penzugyor’s most prolific player, with 12 points to his name.

Allianz Powervolley Milano shut out Saaremaa VC in the first match between the two teams in Estonia on Wednesday. On Thursday, at the same venue, the squad from Milan managed another three-point victory, this time in four sets – 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18). Saaremaa scored six in a row to gain an 11-5 advantage in the first set. Powervolley fought back, but all they managed to do is get back to within a point – 22-21. Winning the next three consecutive rallies, the Estonians took the set. The gap never exceeded three points in the second set, but it was always in favour of the Italians, who levelled the match at 25-22. The situation was quite similar in the third set, but there was a short period of time, when Saaremaa maintained a slight lead. The only time Powervolley’s advantage reached four points was the very end, when Nemanja Petric aced for 25-21. This was already enough to stamp their ticket to the semifinals, but the Italians pushed further and won the next set by a wide margin – 25-18. Powervolley’s Dutch opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz hammered out 28 points to top the charts of the match.

Nemanja Petric, outside hitter of Allianz Powervolley Milano:
“It was a unique situation as we played both matches for two days in a row in Saaremaa. These were not easy games for us, especially today as the opponent played on a good level. Saaremaa started better today, their service and reception were much better than yesterday. Luckily, we were able to bring our best effort from the second set and secure the victory.”
Ioannis Kalmazidis, head coach of Saaremaa VC:
“It was a good effort from us; we played on a high level – two and a half sets yesterday and two sets today but it was not enough, because Milano is an experienced team that plays on a very high level. I like the fact that we put them under pressure today by winning the first set and that the second was close too. This is a good step for the club and for the team, I am happy for the team.”

In the other CEV Challenge Cup semifinal series, the duel for a spot in the big final will be between France’s Rennes Volley 35 and Turkey’s Spor Toto SC Ankara, both of whom qualified on Wednesday. According to the preliminary schedule, the semifinal playoffs should be played on March 19 and 26, with Allianz Powervolley and Rennes Volley 35 hosting the first-leg fixtures.

For more info, go to the CEV Challenge Cup 2020 section.

News nr. 1 of 39
04/03/2020 23:31:00
First men’s Challenge Cup semifinal set

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