Rabita Baku claws its way to the final show at 2011 GM Capital Challenge Cup
The Burhan Felek sports stadium in Istanbul was shaken-up with the vibes of jubilation as girls from Azerbaijan qualified for the final match of 2011 GM Capital Challenge Cup. The team of Rabita Baku clashed with Italy’s Scavolini PESARO on Saturday, March
19 and stole the victory in semi-final match. The four-set interesting encounter ended with the final score of 3-1 (25-23, 25-16, 13-25, and 25-14), while Azerbaijanis marched away with the tag of winners. The team is now scheduled to take on home squad of
VakifGunes TTelekom in the final match.
Rabita Baku opened the match with powerful jump-serves and managed to exert early pressure on the rival side. The Italians resisted but most essentially seemed un-easy with the delivery of strong spikes from Azerbaijan. Rabita Baku scored two points in a
row, whereas Pesaro was yet to be on board. The Italian captain girl, Natalya Mammadova cut the slack and put up with the hard hitting of opponents. The solid blocking and counter-attacks of Mammadova improved Italy’s score. Although Rabita Baku led the score
at first technical timeout (FTT) with a margin of two points (8-6) but Italians created a major sensation and tied the score at 8-all.
The team of head coach, Dejan Brdjovic (Rabita Baku) once again cruised past Italian score and remained one step ahead in the game. They maintained the 2-point lead up till second technical break (16-14). Afterwards, Italian side did everything to save the
set but luck was not on their side. Rabita Baku finished the opening set by sending 25-23 on board.
With the confidence of first-set victory, Rabita Baku jumpstarted next set with strong thumps. The opposite side resisted in full force but couldn’t deal with the unstoppable spikes of Manon Flier of Azerbaijan. Scavolini trailed behind with a difference
of four points at FTT (4-8). The captain girl of Rabita Baku, Martina Guiggi kept her team on the right track and further extended the gap of points. The pumped-up Azerbaijani team took the score to 16-9 at the second mandatory stop.
Meanwhile, Latvian Olga Ativi in Italian squad put up a great effort t for her team and spiked the ball with full power of her arms. Anyhow, her efforts went futile as Rabita Baku closed off the second set with 25-16 victory.
After losing two sets in a row, Italian team was totally fired-up. They threw everything in attack and tried to break the tempo of Azerbaijani team. They finally found their feet in third set and went up on the scoreboard. Rabita Baku lagged behind at the
first technical timeout (3-8). The Italians showed no mercy and continued with hard-hitting. The 9-point lead of Scavolini at the second technical timeout set the right tone for them to attain better status. The Italian team made a great come-back and pulled
off success at 25-13.
After a wonderful performance in third set, it seemed as if Italians got their rhythm back. However, the happiness was short-lived. The Azerbaijani team bounced back in fourth set and pushed the Italians behind the attack line. Rabita Baku took the control
of operations and captured the set by polling 25-14.
Martina Guiggi of Italian team expressed her views after the match. She stated: “We are disappointed, for sure, to lose this semifinal; whenever you go for such an important match like the one we had this afternoon, you dream of the perfect game and we definitely
did not show our full potential. Many people are wondering about the chances that we could have had if Destinee (Hooker) was still with us. But you can’t speculate and we had to play this game with our current forces. Manon got injured right before the start
of the game and nevertheless played a good game, so she is definitely not the one to be blamed for this defeat.”