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06/01/2020 23:10
Bulgaria stun France in spectacular five-setter
CEV Tokyo Volleyball European Qualification 2020 - Men

Berlin, Germany, January 6, 2020.  A total of 27 aces hammered by the two teams in the five-set spectacle between Bulgaria and France added to the fans’ excitement on the stands of the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, where the second competition day of Europe’s men’s Olympic qualification tournament took place on Monday. The Bulgarians opened their campaign in the race for the single available Tokyo 2020 ticket with a victory. Serbia also claimed their first win in Pool B, shutting out the Netherlands in their second match of the tournament. In Pool A, hosts Germany stepped closer to the semifinals, mastering their second straight-set victory, this time over Belgium.

Pool B: The Netherlands vs. Serbia 0-3 (18-25, 18-25, 17-25)

Serbia rebounded from Sunday’s straight-set loss to France with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-17) straight-set win over the Netherlands on Monday. With setter Nikola Jovovic doing a great job both in distributing Serbia’s attacks and from the serving line, the southern European side quickly broke away with a 9-4 lead and then kept pace to cruise to a 25-18 first-set win, despite the impeccable spiking of Thijs ter Horst on the other side of the net. In the second set, the Dutch fortress held up only through 6-6, after which Aleksandar Atanasijevic and his teammates gained control and built nicely to another 25-18 close. Nine points in a row, with Nemanja Petric behind the serving line, flipped the score from a 6-2 Dutch lead to an 11-6 Serbian advantage in the third set, a blow the Netherlands could no longer recover from. Even with some sub-ins on the court, captain Petric, also perfect in attack, led Serbia to a 25-17 win. He became the best scorer of the match with 15 points to his name.

Pool B: Bulgaria vs. France 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-8)

Bulgaria opened their campaign in Berlin with a spectacular 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-8) victory over France in the first five-setter of the tournament. With Jean Patry serving, France scored seven times in a row to recover from an early 4-1 Bulgarian lead and go 8-4 ahead. However, led by the fantastic performance of their captain Viktor Yosifov (three aces, 100% in attack), the Lions not only caught up, but took the lead, and opposite Tsvetan Sokolov finished it off at 25-23. The second set was all about France. With middle blocker Barthélémy Chinenyeze setting the example in attack, they dominated throughout the set on the way to a convincing 25-17 win. Two youngsters who subbed into the Bulgarian squad took charge in the third set. Outside Martin Atanasov was on fire both at the net and from the serving line, while middle Aleks Grozdanov was impeccable in offence. He nailed the last point for 25-22 Bulgaria’s way. Earvin Ngapeth made a solid contribution to France’s attack in the fourth set, but it was Chinenyeze’s blocking that made the biggest difference. The 21-year-old middle delivered four stuffs, including the two in a row that finished the set at 25-19. However, there was no stopping Bulgaria in the tiebreak. Sokolov proved a true leader and hammered five points, two of them from the serving line, towards the emphatic 15-8 closing. With a total of 23 points to his name, he topped the charts of the match, followed by Jean Patry with 20.

Pool A: Belgium vs. Germany 0-3 (18-25, 23-25, 24-26)

Germany achieved their second straight-set victory in Pool A of the CEV Olympic qualifier in Berlin, this time producing a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 26-24) shutout of Belgium, who have yet to win their first set. Lukas Kampa delivered plenty of good spiking opportunities for the German attackers in the first set. Opposite György Grozer kept the momentum from his performance against Czech Republic and contributed nine points towards the 25-18 win, including two kill blocks in the concluding moments of the set. Belgium were in control of the scoreboard through the most part of the second set, but with four consecutive points on Kampa’s serving, the home team changed the course of the set to take a 21-19 lead. Grozer stayed on fire, delivering two aces towards a set total of 10 points, and himself put the ball on the floor for the 25-23 close. In the epilogue of a rollercoaster third set, Grozer sustained a calf injury upon landing after a spike and shortly afterwards, he stepped off the court leaving Belgium with a double set point. With some great performance in defence, the Germans persevered through the next four rallies, as Denys Kaliberda brought them to match point with a precision shot and converted it with a kill block to a 26-24 win. Grozer’s 22-point tally placed him on top of the match scorers, while Belgian captain Sam Deroo came next with 19 points.

For further information, visit the official event website

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