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24/06/2017 22:15
Former Y.R. of Macedonia secure Final Four spot, Albania and Sweden to fight for last ticket to Gentofte
2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Tirana, Albania, June 24, 2017. On Saturday, the Former Y.R. of Macedonia extended their winning streak in the 2017 edition of the CEV Volleyball European League – Men to five matches in a row by routing Azerbaijan in three sets to secure their spot in the Final Four scheduled for July 1-2 in Gentofte, Denmark. Later in the afternoon, Sweden beat hosts Albania 3-1 to improve their win-loss record to 2-3 and stay in contention for a spot in the Finals.

Former Y.R. of Macedonia vs. Azerbaijan

The 2016 European League silver medallists kept a clean sheet in Pool A after their 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) over Azerbaijan. As a result, they did not only secure their spot in the Finals, but also made sure they will finish on top of the standing in the group. However, today’s victory was not an easy one for the Macedonian players, who had to work hard to win the first set. Azerbaijan stood a chance of taking that one but made too many mistakes after the second technical time-out. Azerbaijan lacked consistency in the remainder of the match and they lost their fifth match in a row in the competition.

Dragutin Baltic, coach of the Former Y.R. of Macedonia: “It was not easy to achieve this victory but I especially liked the way my team reacted in the difficult moments we faced, namely in the first set. We played well but we have to remain focussed and close the league round with another victory tomorrow.”

Farid Jalalov, coach of Azerbaijan: “We tried to win this match and if we had played a little better, making fewer mistakes, we would have at least won the first set. My players should remain concentrated from start to finish. Let’s hope we can claim our first victory tomorrow.”

Sweden vs. Albania

After losing to Albania last week in Skopje, Sweden took their revenge in Tirana to remain in contention for a spot in the Final Four. It was a truly dramatic game with both teams delivering a very good performance and fighting hard to achieve the victory. Sweden took the first set 25-22 after the teams exchanged the lead back and forth. Albania tried to repeat the feat they achieved a week ago in Skopje but they could only win the third set – with Sweden ultimately rallying to a 3-1 victory (25-22, 25-12, 23-25, 25-23). Fredrik Gustavsson top scored for Sweden with 21 points as Anton Qafarena scored 22 times for Albania.

Jovan Melka, coach of Albania: “This loss has made it difficult for us to achieve our goal, but we are still second in the pool and tomorrow we will play for the victory. We should have managed a lot better our lead in the first and fourth sets, but too many mistakes and probably too much enthusiasm prevented us from winning this game. However, I still believe in this team.”

Johan Isacsson, coach of Sweden: “This is a great victory, which keeps alive our chances of qualifying to the Finals. This time we did not repeat the same mistakes we made a week ago, we played well and I think we deserved the victory. However, we still have to accomplish our mission tomorrow with another victory.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

News nr. 5 of 17
25/06/2017 23:48:00
Sweden join Former Y.R. of Macedonia at #EuroLeagueM Final Four
23/06/2017 22:00:00
Former Y.R. of Macedonia roll on in #EuroLeagueM as Albania also record another victory

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