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07/12/2016 22:51
Benfica work hard to celebrate tie-break victory over Swiss rivals
2017 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men

Lisbon, Portugal, December 7, 2016. Benfica LISBOA started on Wednesday night their campaign in the 2017 edition of the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men claiming a 3-2 victory in their home matchup with Biogas Volley NÄFELS of Switzerland. Benfica are hoping to extend their success story in this competition after being the eventual runners-up in 2015 and making it to the semis last season.

Everything went just easy for the ‘Eagles’ that comfortably claimed the first and second sets by 25-12 and 25-18 in 26 and 25 minutes, respectively. However, Portugal’s elite team started making easy mistakes and ended up losing set 3 by 17-25. The fourth set was much closer with Benfica failing to capitalise on two match balls and the Swiss visitors eventually calling for the tie-break after emerging victorious at 28-26. Benfica rose to the occasion in the fifth set and cruised to a 15-10 win to make it a step forward in their quest for a spot in the next round.

José Jardim, head coach of Benfica LISBOA, said: “We knew that this was a much more balanced team than the one we faced last year. We played very well in the first two sets, but then we have to give them credit. They served really strong and we, on the contrary, made many direct mistakes. We tried to fix it but we could not close the fourth set in our favour. The team lost a bit of focus but then ended up deserving the win. We won, which is the most important thing.”

Hugo Gaspar, team captain of Benfica, said: “In European competitions we always expect games with a high degree of difficulty. We must be careful and be prepared for opponents who also want to win and know how to play good Volleyball. That’s exactly what happened today. It was evident that we lost some focus and the other team took advantage of that. But the goal was to win the game, we achieved it and we are happy with it.”

Dalibor Polak, head coach of Biogas Volley NÄFELS, commented: “We played here last year and we knew how strong Benfica is. I was expecting a hard-fought game, and so it was. I knew we would do better this year than last year. I told my players that our goal was to win at least two sets here... and we did it! Nevertheless, we did not win and I don’t like to lose four times against the same team, so I hope to win the next match in Näfels.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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