Just several days after their counterparts from the women’s national team of Serbia claimed the continental crown, the small southern European nation triumphed with the gold medals in the men’s CEV EuroVolley 2019 as well, after mastering a four-set victory over Slovenia in Sunday’s final at a sold-out AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
Close to 13 thousand fans created a fantastic ambience at the venue and saw Serbia claim their third men’s European title (after 2001 as Yugoslavia and 2011) and an overall 12th medal in the history of European Championships.
For Slovenia this is the second medal. The first one, from 2015, was also silver. Serbia complete a clean sweep of both European titles – men and women – for the second time in their history after first achieving this feat in 2011.
A couple of monster blocks gave Slovenia the break points they needed to take an early lead. Some unforced errors allowed Serbia to gain control for a short period of time, but after 9-9, it was all about Slovenia. Masterfully led by their setter Dejan Vincic, the Slovenes were the masters of the net in both spiking and blocking to build nicely to a 25-19 close, shaped up with an elegant top by Mitja Gasparini. Serbia did not wait long to react. With their blockers’ turn to reign at the net, they broke away with a speedy 12-5 lead in the second set and never looked back. Aleksandar Atanasijevic chipped in with some unstoppable spikes as well, while the blocking delivered as many as eight stuffs towards a landslide 25-16 finish. Atanasijevic and Uros Kovacevic continued to bombard the Slovenian half of the court throughout a one-sided third set, which Kovacevic closed off with an off-the-block hit for 25-18. The fourth set was competitive only through 7-7. There was no stopping Serbia after that. They opened a wide gap on the way to a comfortable 25-20, which their captain Nemanja Petric fixed with a rifle shot and a blistering ace for the last two points.
Atanasijevic (on 22 points) and Kovacevic (on 20) were the leading scorers of the match. They also impressed with four stuff blocks each. Klemen Cebulj was Slovenia’s top point-maker with a total of 15, including three aces.
At a spectacular closing ceremony after the final, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić handed the trophy to captain Nemanja Petric. Serbia’s Uros Kovacevic was honoured as the Most Valuable Player of EuroVolley 2019.
MVP Uros Kovacevic receives his trophy from CEV President Aleksandar Boričić
“I already experienced this once, but I was on the bench. It’s so much better when you play and feel the atmosphere on the court. I am proud of my teammates, my staff, my country…,” said Kovacevic right after the end of the gold medal match. “This is an incredible experience for all of us because nobody expected us to win, except us, and we did it. Slovenia started to play very well in front of a lot of Slovenian fans, then we played point by point, and we won, I do not want to say easily, but we were up in each set from the beginning. Now we have the Olympic qualifier in January, with France, Slovenia and other great teams, but if we did this now, we can also do it then.”
Himna za odbojkaše Srbije, prvake Evrope#rtsvesti
Gepostet von Internet portal RTS-a am Sonntag, 29. September 2019