Russia wins three of the European Cups, Fenerbahce - two
Luxembourg, Luxembourg, March 31, 2014 - With the trophies in the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup and CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup for both men and women finding their homes this past weekend, the European Cups season is now over. Russia dominated the continental club scene with its teams winning three of the six trophies and finishing runners-up for another two. The Turkish club of Fenerbahce ISTANBUL, however, was the one that wrote the brightest page in its history by claiming two European Cups – one on the women’s and one on the men’s side.
It was e real volleyball celebration at the Burhan Felek competition hall in Istanbul on Saturday when close to 7,000 fans saw their favourite club win two continental trophies in one day. While for the women’s volleyball squad of the giant multi-sport club, ranking among the top teams in international volleyball is business as usual, their male club mates claimed a European cup for the first time in history.
Following a thrilling 2-3 (32-30, 25-18, 24-26, 21-25, 14-16) away loss in the first leg of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men’s final against Italy’s Andreoli LATINA, the team of Fenerbahce Grundig ISTANBUL wasted no time winning the second leg at home by a landslide 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-17) to get the party started by the Bosporus. Fenerbahce and Serbia’s star player Ivan Miljkovic was voted Most Valuable Player of the final.
To the complete satisfaction of the crowd at the sold-out Burhan Felek, the Yellow Angels, which is the nickname the women’s volleyball team of Fenerbahce SK. ISTANBUL is known by, triumphed with the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women after shutting out Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG by 3-0 (25-11, 28-26, 25-22) to follow up on an exciting 3-2 (25-16, 25-17, 20-25, 23-25, 15-9) away victory in the first leg. The new cup-holder’s Korean star Yeon-Koung Kim was honoured as MVP.
The party at the Burhan Felek could have continued on the following day as a third European Cup final was scheduled there on Sunday. However, Zarechie ODINTSOVO spoiled the day for Besiktas ISTANBUL with a 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19) victory in the second leg of the final of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women. The Russian side had won the first leg at home by 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 10-15) and rejoiced with its first ever continental trophy. The MVP honours went to Zarechie’s rising star – 20-year-old Natalia Malykh.
With this success, the team from Odintsovo completed a hat-trick of European Cups for Russia this season after Dinamo KAZAN and Belogorie BELGOROD had won the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League titles for women and for men, respectively, earlier this month to qualify for the respective FIVB Volleyball Club World Championships later this year. Furthermore, similar to Turkey’s teams, clubs from Russia participated in five of the six 2014 European Cups finals.
The other Russian club which reached the final, but could not emerge victorious, was Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD. In its debut European Cups season, the Russian rookie was very close to a sensational achievement after a 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-21) knock-down of PARIS Volley in the first leg of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men's final at home. However, the French side showed no intention of folding up the banners. They won the return leg in Paris by 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19) and the decisive Golden Set to follow by 15-11 to achieve the only break-through in the Russian-Turkish domination of this season’s European Cups honours. PARIS’s Serbian player Marko Ivovic was selected MVP.
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