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24/04/17
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France eliminates Turkey in Vienna’s first Playoff match

Almost two sets France looked like the sure winner of Wednesday’s first Playoff Match in Vienna. With the back to the wall, Turkey came up and tried to recover from a 0-2 deficit. France kept their nerves and won 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21).

frankreichtopBusiness as usual for the „Bleus“ in the first set. Despite playing their first set in the „Wiener Stadthalle“ after having moved to Vienna from Innsbruck, France started amazingly again (8-2, 14-9). Like the matches before, Philipp Blain’s team brought themselves in troubles only  in the middle of the set, when Turkey achieved a 5:0 mini-break (15-16). Turkey even had the chance to turn the set (18-19). Especially France’s topscorer Earvin Ngapeth (21) seemed to have an objection against Turkey’s intention (25-19).

As the second set had started, Turkey eventually displayed the necessary aggressiveness for a Playoff match and suddenly played on France’s level (16-14). During the crucial phase of the set, France was able to accelerate the pace and force some mistakes of Turkey (20-16). After having missed two set balls (24-23), France finally sealed the deal. (25-23).

When you lose two sets, it sounds crazy to speak from an upward trend. But in Turkey’s case it was the truth. The close second set, seemed to having created confidence in the turkish minds. After a very balanced begin (14-14), they overtook the control and suddenly led 5 points (22-17). France knew that they were beaten and started saving energy for the following set (25-19).

In the begin France’s strategy was going according to the plan (7:3) and seemed to pay off. But Turkey were able to shorten the distance to France to two points (19-21), but failed to close the gap.

Earvin Ngapeth top-scored for France (21), followed by Nicolas Marechal (15). Serhat Coskun scored 22 points for Turkey.

French Coach Philipp Blain was very happy with the result. “Winning this game was the most important thing for us. Another big thing is, that our substitues really helped the team today and proved their abilties.”

Although Turkey lost their game, Veljko Basic, Coach of Turkey, was satisfied with his team’s performance. “All in all, we have to admit that France played with higher quality than us. We finished with a good game and this makes me confident for the future.”

 Pierre Pujol, France’s captain highlighted the importance of a well-balanced team. „This competion spans over a long period and we have to play a lot of matches. Our substitues really did a good job today.“

 Turkish top-scoring player Serhat Coskun wasn’t as satisfied as his coach. „I think we made a lot of stupid mistakes today. The communication on court needs to be better to win matches like this.”