On Sunday Austria completed a clean sweep of their matches at the first-round qualifier – Pool 2 for the 2017 men’s
EuroVolley held in Luxembourg City. The players coached by Michael Warm swept Lithuania aside to further cement their first place in the group. Later in the evening, the ‘Red Lions’ of Luxembourg paid the price to the fatigue resulting from their previous matches and ended up losing in three sets to the Republic of Moldova, a result which paves Moldova’s way to the next stage of the qualification process as one of the two best second-placed teams across the three first-round pools.
Republic of Moldova vs. Luxembourg 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-20)
Luxembourg did not fully live up to the expectations and suffered a straight-sets loss at the hands of Moldova in their last match of the tournament. Apparently the ‘Red Lions’ had used too much of their energy and strength in their previous matches with Lithuania and Austria to put on a fight also against the physically imposing players from Moldova.
Luxembourg best attackers Kamil Rychlicki and Chris Zuidberg were systematically blocked by their Moldovan opponents in set 1 and 2, where the visitors did perform extremely well also in reception and passing. This way Moldova claimed an early lead in both the first and second set (8-3), which they gradually extended and was more than enough to secure they would come out on top in the end.
Even some substitutions made by the Luxembourg coaching staff did not revitalise the home team. Dmitrii Bahov, Pavel Mocanu and Denis Sintov set the pace for Moldova and they did well enough to contribute to a 2-0 lead in the match.
Luxembourg put on a fight in the early stages of the third set where the score remained close up to the first technical time-out. However, some unforced errors made by the visibly exhausted players of the home team resulted in a commanding 16-9 lead for Moldova at the second technical time-out. Max Funk replaced starting setter and team captain Gilles Braas and this resulted in a comeback by the home team, with Rychlicki, Zuidberg and Tim Laevaert finally unleashing their potential. After a number of spectacular rallies, Moldova could nevertheless get back control of the game and celebrate a third set win (25-20) and with it also their victory in the match as well as qualification to the next stage of the 2017 EuroVolley.
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