All CEV Cup and Challenge Cup final match-ups have been set
The Turkish sports club Fenerbahce ISTANBUL is certainly the one to take the most pride in the outcome of the semi finals as both the women’s and the men’s volleyball teams of the club secured their places in the final battles for European honours. The Yellow Angels, as the ladies’ squad of Fenerbahce SK. ISTANBUL is nicknamed, cruised to the CEV Volleyball Cup final by two impressive victories over Azerbaijan’s Azeryol BAKU – 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-16) at home and 3-0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-17) away. The road to the final for Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG was way bumpier. Legendary coach Nikolai Karpol’s team lost the first semi final leg at home to Germany’s DRESDNER SC by 2-3 (26-28, 25-15, 20-25, 25-22, 7-15), but then managed to outplay their opponents in Dresden by 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 25-23). Uralochka and Fenerbahce will meet in Russia on March 26 and the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women will be handed over to its winner on March 29 in Istanbul.
On the men’s front, the CEV Cup semi finals featured four exciting five-set thrillers, including one golden set, that eventually sent France’s PARIS Volley and Russia’s Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD to the final clash. The French side had to come back from a 2-3 (25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 13-25, 9-15) home loss to Romania’s Tomis CONSTANTA and beat their opponents in their competition hall on the Black Sea coast by 3-2 (12-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11) in order to prompt a decisive golden set which they ended up winning by 15-12 to triumph victorious and with a precious ticket to the final in hand. Guberniya marked their rookie European Cups season with two exciting tie-breaker wins against Polish powerhouse PGE Skra BELCHATOW in the semi finals – 3-2 (25-19, 25-21, 22-52, 22-25, 15-13) at home and 3-2 (21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 18-25, 16-14) away. The first leg of the final duel will take place on March 26 in Nizhniy Novgorod with the return match scheduled for three days later in Paris.
The men’s team of Fenerbahce Grundig ISTANBUL left no doubts about their superiority over France’s NANTES Rezé Métropole in one of the semi final clashes of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup competition. Having defeated their opponents by 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 25-15) in the first match by the Bosporus, the Turkish players were even more straightforward in the return game in France – 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-18). Italy’s Andreoli LATINA prevented the final from turning into a one-city affair by knocking out the other representative of the Turkish megalopolis in the competition – ISTANBUL BBSK. The Italians shut down their opponents by 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-22) in the first match at home, and then managed to take what they needed, two sets, from the away game – 2-3 (36-34, 16-25, 21-25, 25-19, 13-15), to qualify for the final. They will have to travel back to Istanbul once again on March 30 for the decisive second leg of the final after entertaining Fenerbahce at home on March 27.
Istanbul will also have its representative in the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women's final, as the team of Besiktas overcame the semi final obstacle – Poland’s Impel WROCLAW. Having won by 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-16) in Wroclaw, all the Turkish side needed to win from the return match at home was two sets. So they did. Losing by 2-3 (27-25, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 9-15) was sufficient for Besiktas to move forward. In the other semi final, Russia’s Zarechie ODINTSOVO struggled to win the home match by a well-contested 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-7) against France’s ASPTT MULHOUSE, but then crushed their opponents’ dreams to make it to the final with a straight-set victory in France – 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23). Besiktas will travel to Russia for the first final match on March 27 and then will try to please the home fans by lifting the trophy on March 30 in Istanbul.