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15/06/2018 23:08
Croatia mount spectacular comeback to face Belarus in Silver #EuroLeagueM final
2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men

Skopje, Former Y.R. of Macedonia, June 15, 2018.  Croatia made a spectacular comeback from two sets down against hosts FYR of Macedonia to secure their spot in Saturday’s gold medal match of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men.  In Saturday’s big final, they will lock horns with Belarus, who earlier cruised to a speedy straight-set victory over Latvia at Skopje’s Kale sports centre.

Belarus vs. Latvia 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-15)

•    In the first set, the Belarusian blockers stood out at the net with as many as seven kills and their team dominated from start to end cruising to an impressive 25-18 win.
•    The Latvians stepped up their spiking efforts in the second set, but not enough to change the course of the match. Andrei Radziuk scored Belarus’s first ace for the match, closing the set off at 25-22.
•    The first half of the third set was the most competitive part of the match, the lead went back and forth and it looked like the Latvians were finally putting up a fight. But everything changed when Pavel Audochanka took his turn from the serving line and Belarus broke away with a long series of consecutive points. At the very end, however, it was Ilya Burau, who aced for the last point of the match – 25-15.
•    Andrei Radziuk was the best scorer of the match with 14 points for Belarus. His teammate Siarhei Busel impressed with six of the squad’s 14 kill blocks.
•    Substitute Reinis Pekmans and Romans Sauss were Latvia’s best scorers with 11 points each.

Croatia vs. FYR of Macedonia 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-9)

•    The home crowd at the Kale sports centre created an inspiring atmosphere, whole-heartedly supporting their team from the stands.
•    FYR of Macedonia’s captain Nikola Gjorgiev proved as a true leader for his teammates. He scored nine times in the first set alone to lead the squad to a 25-21 win.
•    The Croatians made far too many unforced errors in the second set, while Nikola Gjorgiev continued to be a great asset to his side, as the Macedonians doubled their lead with a 25-22 close.
•    With Leo Andric on fire in attack (seven points) and with the help of three serving aces, Croatia were well in control of the third set. A pulverising spike by Andric fixed the 25-22 win to keep his squad alive in the match.
•    Leo Andric continued his killing spree into the fourth set and spiked successfully eight times towards the 25-20 win, which levelled the score and prompted a decisive fifth set.
•    The momentum kept Croatia going through the tie-breaker, while the home team could not cope with the pressure and made many mistakes. Tsimafei Zhukouski served an ace for 15-9 to get the Croatian party started.
•    Leo Andric and Nikola Gjorgiev topped the scorers’ charts of the match with 28 and 27 points, respectively.

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