Bulgaria leading the charts in Pool B before Austria and Israel

CEV, Luxembourg. As we are getting to the decisive days in both #EuroVolleyM Qualifiers in Pool C and Pool B, the intrigue in the games grows and teams give their best on the court. On Thursday, team MKD outperformed Bosnia&Herzegovina at 3-0 in Pool C and keep their dream to reaching the CEV EuroVolley 2021 Finals alive. In Pool B, Bulgaria also continue their journey towards much desired ticket to the final stage as they seized a 3-0 victory over Israel and are currently topping the charts halfway through the competition. 

CEV Eurovolley 2021 men’s pool B qualifying match between Bulgaria and Israel, 14 January 2021, at the Enerbox sports hall in Hadera, Israel. (Photo by David Silverman/IVA)

Bosnia&Herzegovina v North Macedonia 0-3 (20-25, 24-26, 13-25)

Team MKD started on the right foot at the second part of the Qualifier in Pool C, taking place is Skopje. In a rematch with Bosnia&Herzegovina the players coached by Nikola Matijasevic, seized a 3-0 victory. Despite their efforts to turn things around, the Bosnian players couldn’t keep up with the rhythm of play of Nikola Gjorgiev and his teammates. The Macedonians performed better in attack, which resulted in being the key factor towards the victory, having in mind the fighting spirit of Bosnia&Herzegovina on block and excellent play on the serve. Thanks to this victory, team MKD get back on the winning path after having lost 0-3 from Turkey on Wednesday.

• Macedonia started better in the match, probably still inspired by their good game in yesterday’s match vs pool favourites Turkey. Aleksandar Ljaftov was “flying high” opening strong for his team.
• Bosnia&Herzegovina, however, stormed in the second set, led by Adi Osmanovic who was inspiring his teammates with his actions on the field threatening the Macedonian defense. The Bosnian players made it difficult for their opponents as they improved their game on block and serve. Breathing down each others’ necks in the last minutes of the second set, team MKD found the right way to emerge victorious.
• After being 0-2 down, Bosnia seemed to have lost a bit of their spark while the Macedonians took the best out of the situation with good game on attack. 
• Aleksandar Ljaftov recorded 21 points to his name for the Macedonian victory. The same number scored also Adi Osmanovic for Bosnia&Herzegovina. 

“It was a great game and a very important victory for us without losing a point. This is what we promised to our fans yesterday. We were under lot of pressure after the loss from Turkey, but we came back and I am proud of the team. We meet again the Turkish side on Saturday. They are the favourites but we have our chances and we will try to win and proceed ahead”, Nikola Gjorgiev, captain of team MKD said. 

“I want to congratulate the Macedonian players. They played a very good game this evening, they outclassed us on serve and reception. We lost our game in the third set. Of course, we will try to give our best in tomorrow’s match vs Turkey and to win one, or maybe two sets. In sports, you never know… “, Admir Colo, player of Bosnia&Herzegovina stated.

CEV Eurovolley 2021 men’s pool B qualifying match between Bulgaria and Israel, 14 January 2021, at the Enerbox sports hall in Hadera, Israel. (Photo by David Silverman/IVA)

Bulgaria v Israel 3-0 (27-25, 25-16, 25-22)

The Bulgarian Lions recorded a second victory as on Thursday they outclassed the team of Israel in three sets. This way, Bulgaria are topping the charts in Pool B after two matches played and two matches left. The fixture between Bulgaria and Israel was a close call in many occasions with the Israeli players taking the lead in the beginnings, and the Bulgarians coming back to turn things around. Eventually, team Bulgaria outperformed their opponents in all the components and emerged victorious taking the three points. 

• Bulgaria entered the court in the first set trying to find their rhythm. On the other hand, the Israeli led by Tamir Hershko made it difficult for the Lions’ defense. With the set unfolding, the Bulgarians started to improve their game and with 3 aces and better attack opened in their favour after a successful action by Aleks Grozdanov.
• Same scenario happened in the next part with Israel taking the lead in the beginning. The contribution of Todor Skrimov on the serving line was the turning point inspiring Bulgaria to show their best and improve also on block. 
• Both Bulgaria and Israel were fighting hard in the third set. Yet again, the players around Silvano Prandi were more successful in the decisive moments and grabbed the victory. 
• Bulgaria’s captain, Tsvetan Sokolov became again top scorer for his team putting 15 points to his name. Martin Atanasov and Todor Skrimov contributed with 14 and 13 respectively for the win of the Lions. 

“Today, we played another “medium-good” match. I am happy with the result, of course, because 3-0 is always our target. However, in terms of quality of the play, we are still trying to get things under control and to maintain the same level during all the match. We have many players that aim at playing at the highest level always, and that is very good. Maybe we lacked some concentration in the match vs Israel but we reacted on time. We recovered from negative situation and got back on our feet. Now, we will prepare for the match against Austria on Saturday, that, in my opinion, will be decisive for the final result of this Qualifier”, Silvano Prandi, head coach of Bulgaria said. 

On Friday, Bulgaria have a rest day, while Israel will meet Austria for the start of the second half of the qualification tournament.

CEV – European Volleyball
IVA – Israeli Volleyball Association

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