27 January 2023

VolleyTimes

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Champions League: Benfica closer to qualification to pool stage

2 min read

Benfica Lisboa beat Mladost Zagreb in the first leg of the 3rd Round of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League to get closer to reach the qualification to the 4th Round of the competition, the pool stage, for the first time in their history.
The Portuguese team defeated the Crotians at home in straight sets (25:22, 25:20, 25:22). The rematch will be played in Croatia on November 27.
The first set, in which Benfica bounced back from the six-point deficit (11:17), turned out to be crucial for the outcome of the match. Brazilian outside hitter André Aleixo “Japa”, who came to Benfica from Sesc RJ, was the top scorer of the match with 18 points (70% attack, 16/23) while André Lopes made 89% reception (18 digs, 50% excellent). As for Mladost, Ukrainian Tymofii Poluian scored 14 points, including 5 winning blocks.

Reactions:
Marcel Matz, head coach of Benfica: “It was a big step for us. It was a hard, difficult win, even more difficult than the other two games. We have to keep focused on the next match. I want to thank all the fans for their support, it is very important for us.

André Aleixo ‘Japa’, player of Benfica: “I am very happy. I want to thank the team for the great job they did tonight. This is only the first step. The next game will be a different story and we will have to work harder and be stronger. It is great to win in front of our supporters. We are very confident for the away game.

Radovan Malevic, head coach of Mladost ZAGREB: “Congratulations to Benfica. They are a very experienced team; we made some mistakes at the end of first set. We are a young team, I know that, but we have to be more concentrated. The second match will be a good one, we still have the chance to progress to the group stage of the Champions League and it will not be easy for Benfica.”

Ivan Raic, player of Mladost ZAGREB: “It was a tough match. Benfica has more experienced players and that was crucial. I hope we can play better the next match at home and we will do everything to win.”

2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League – 3rd Round (1st leg)

November 20:
Benfica Lisboa (POR) – Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 3-0 (25:22, 25:20, 25:22)
November 21:
Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad (SRB) – Shakhtior Soligorsk (BLR)

Source and photo: CEV

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