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26/03/2015 00:39
Eagles shock CMC to take first-leg advantage with class!
2015 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Lisbon, Portugal, March 25, 2015.  On Wednesday evening, at the Benfica Stadium’s Pavilion No. 2, in what was an outstanding performance by the Eagles, SL Benfica LISBOA beat CMC RAVENNA by 3:0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-19) in the first leg of the 2015 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup semifinals.

After 12-12 in the first set, the home side took over the lead and did not let go through 25-20.  Benfica survived a late scare in the second set.  Having wasted a 4-point lead in the middle of the set, the Portuguese team allowed the Italians to step ahead for a moment for a set point at 24-23, but then persevered in the next three rallies to win by 26-24 and double its lead.  Throughout set three Benfica was the dominant set to round off a straight-set win after 25-19.

In the aftermath of the game, both the coach of Benfica Jose Jardim and the players were thrilled, but with their feet firmly on the ground.

"I think that no one was expecting this result, but we knew it was possible.  We would have to be very smart, vary the serving, and we were exceptional today.  It was a deserved and spectacular win, and one that will surprise many people.  Now, we have to put our feet firmly on the ground, because we have not won anything yet and all will be decided on Sunday.  We are a solid, confident team, and we are ready for these great challenges," Jardim stated after the match.

The Eagles’ captain Hugo Gaspar reiterated his coach’s words, highlighting Benfica’s great collective performance:  "It was a great game, before a great crowd and with a high level of volleyball, in which we beat a great team, but we have our feet firmly on the ground.  50% of the work is done, but on Sunday we will have a very tough match in Italy.  We showed that at home we are dominant, and we all deserve praise.  We are ready!"

Click here for more details including match statistics.

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