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08/04/2015 20:52
Vojvodina pleases home crowd with 3:1 over Benfica in first Challenge Cup final
2015 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Novi Sad, Serbia, April 8, 2015.  In a great atmosphere created by the fans in Novi Sad, the home team of Vojvodina NS Seme took the three points from the first leg of the 2015 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men with a 3:1 (25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22) victory over visiting Benfica LISBOA from Portugal gaining the maximum on the way to the trophy before the return match in Lisbon on April 12.

After 4-7, Vojvodina made a five-point run for 9-7 and never looked back, controlling the scoreboard through the end of the set with the support of the fans.  Led by Drazen Luburic in attack and with good blocking performance, the Serbian team augmented the advantage and closed the set at 25-19.  The young team from Novi Sad played without fear against a powerful opponent.  Throughout the whole second set, Vojvodina was a step ahead of Benfica, as the good serving, the fighting spirit and the strong motivation were enough for 25-23 and 2:0. The third set was uncertain, the visitors did not give up and improved their game, also taking advantage of the many errors on Vojvodina’s side towards the eventual 25-22.  The team from Novi Sad played persistently and patiently, while the Portuguese squad lost precision in its game.  Similar to the first set, the home heroes scored five points in a row to take the score from 7-8 to 12-8 and never gave up their lead any more.  Inspired by the enthusiastic support from the stands and showing great strength, the Serbian team reached a big victory at 25-22 and 3:1.

Drazen Luburic scored a smashing 27 points for Vojvodina to top the charts of the match, while Benfica’s Hugo Fernando Lucas Gaspar responded with 21 points.

“We deserved to win, and I am proud of these guys. We are delighted that this game was a real show. We knew how to play Benfica, this is Portuguese-Brazilian style Volleyball, but we had the right answer to that. We played with courage, aggressive and that is the only way we could stand a chance against them,” said the mentor of Vojvodina, Strahinja Kozic after the match.

“It was an amazing and tough game, but we gave our best and deserved to win. I want to thank everyone who came and supported us from the first to the last point. The atmosphere was great, and this evening will remain a memorable one,” said Milan Katic from Vojvodina NS Seme.

“We played bad in the first set, after that we improved a lot, but the reception was a problem. Vojvodina was better at blocking, serving and attacking. This is only half of the job, and I think our experience and the support of our fans can help us in the second match,” said the mentor of Benfica, José Jardim.

“The match was very difficult because both teams are good and competitive. But this is only the first match and we have equal opportunities when we play the return at home,” said Benfica’s top scorer Hugo Fernando Lucas Gaspar.

Click here for more details including match statistics.

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