Vakifbank Istanbul defeated its domestic opponent Galatasaray Istanbul in three sets and gained a ticket to final. The hosts took a fight only in the first set thanks to magnificent performance of Rosir Calderon. Two remaining parts were totally one-sighted. In the final, Vakifbank Istanbul will stand in front of Rabita Baku. The same situation took place two years ago when Vakifbank won over Rabita in straight sets.
Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul 0 – 3 Vakifbank Istanbul (26-28, 17-25, 21-25)
Galatasaray: Lo Bianco 1, Ozsoy 13, Barut 2, Molnar 1, Calderon 19, Gioli 7, Sano (L) and Ilyasoglu 1, Cayirgan, Alikaya 1, Yurtdagulen 1, Arslan
Vakifbank: Aydemir 2, G. Sonsirma 18, Toksoy 3, Brakocevic 21, Glinka-Mogentale 7, Furst 8, Guresen (L) and Onal 3, Kimura, Gurkaynak
In front of 6’500 thrilled Turkish spectators, host Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul experienced the better start into today’s second semifinal. Led by their dominant Cuban spiker Rosir Calderon, the team of Italian head coach Massimo Barbolini controlled the first part of set 1 with a five-point lead at 19-14. However, it was not enough to pull through. Three service hammers from Serbian star Brakocevic put Giovanni Guidetti’s team back on track at 21-20. Both teams showed great fighting spirit at that early stage of the eagerly-awaited Turkish duel. At 23-23, the set balanced on a knife’s edge with both squads having their chances to conclude. After having saved two set balls, Vakifbank Istanbul seized their second opportunity to end the first set 28-26 in their favor. Best scorers of the first set were Calderon for Galatasaray (10 kills) and Brakocevic for Vakifbank (9).
The quality of the match remained outstanding in the beginning of the second set with both teams showing impressive rallies. It needed great efforts for both squads to place the Mikasa on the opponent’s court as block-defense tactics worked exemplary on both sides. Christiane Furst blocked for a 16-13 Vakifbank lead at the second technical break. Small details made the difference: a missed counter-attack, a block touch, an imprecise passing. Fürst’s block winner paved the way for Vakifbank’s winning strike. The guests scored six consecutive points to take a comfortable 21-13 lead. Guidetti’s team never looked back to take a hard-earned 2:0 set lead. The main difference at that point of the match was Vakifbank’s offensive power.
However, there was no reason for Galatasaray to hang their head. The ladies of coach Barbolini played a great game so far. The scoreboard showed 5-5 at the start of the third set, then 8-8; and there was nothing to separate the two teams at that moment of the electrifying duel. 22-year old Vakifbank setter Naz Aydemir tried to speed up her offensive game in the middle of the third set with some quick combinations. It helped as Galatasaray’s middle blockers instantly experienced a hard time. At the second technical timeout, Vakifbank already led by five points. Still, it was not good enough. The hosts scored seven points in row to turn the tables. But at 20-19, Neriman Ozsoy fired wide to give Vakifbank the chance to bounce back. Two consecutive winners by Captain Gözde Sonsirma brought up set and match ball for the Guidetti team at 24-21, and Furst closed it out with a blistering diagonal winner to offer her teammates the well-deserved tickets for Sunday’s gold medal game.
Gözde Sonsirma, Captain Vakifbank Istanbul: “It was a great match tonight with a great atmosphere. Luckily we managed to win the first set. That was the key moment of the game.”
Giovanni Guidetti, Head Coach Vakifbank Istanbul: “Congratulations to my players, but also congratulations to Galatasaray. Massimo Barbolini showed once more that he is a great coach. He managed to prepare his team impeccably. It gave us a very hard time to win.”
Eleonora Lo Bianco, Captain Galatasaray Istanbul: “Unfortunately we missed to win the first set. We stared very well and had all chances on our side to win the opening set. However, Vakifbank deserved the victory tonight.”
Massimo Barbolini, Head Coach Galatasaray Istanbul: “It was not enough to play well in the first and partly of the third set. Still, I’m proud of my players, they never gave up tonight.”