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photo: Piotr Sumara, 28 August 2017

Serbia sweep Finland to win Pool A and qualify for the Krakow quarterfinals

Serbia qualified for the LOTTO EUROVOLLEY POLAND 2017 quarterfinals after beating Finland 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 34-32) in the first match of the final day of play in Pool A at Ergo Arena.

In the first set, the teams were level at 3-3, but Serbia soon found their rhythm and managed to open up a five-point gap at 15-10. Despite Finland bridging the deficit, Serbia stayed strong as the point-scoring was shared among the team. They won the set despite wasting one set point and made it count at the second attempt thanks to an easy spike struck by captain Dragan Stankovic.

Serbia’s dominance continued in the second set as they put points on the board. Finland were roared on during every point by their thousands of fans inside the arena, but the lack of Serbian support counted for little. Again Nikola Grbic’s side failed to capitalise with their first set point but a powerful kill from Aleksandar Atanasijevic gave them victory, 25-18.

In the final set, Serbia did not have it all their own as Tuomas Sammelvuo’s side fought back. The Finns led 16-14, but the sides were on level terms at 23-all. What followed, no-one in Ergo Arena would have predicted. Both teams had chances to finish the set and in Finland’s case, they threw away five set points. Serbia themselves weren’t clinical and wasted three opportunities to win the match before Uros Kovacevic (pictured above) spiked to win it 34-32.

The result meant Serbia won Pool A ahead of the final match between Poland and Estonia, while Finland would need for the result to go in their favour if they were to progress to Krakow and compete in the play-offs.

Nikola Grbic, Serbia coach: “It was much better than two days ago. We put lots of energy onto the court and our concentration was good. We expected a tough match and they served really well. But when they managed to do well in the second and third set we stayed steady and calm. I was very satisfied and all the players who came in gave something towards the victory. We had our chances to win the match (before we eventually did), but we made many mistakes with our serve.”

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© Polish Volleyball Federation, 2017