Home » Allianz Powervolley Milano vs Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara: Challenge Cup Final Preview 2021

Allianz Powervolley Milano vs Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara: Challenge Cup Final Preview 2021

by WoV

Let's see what we can expect from the CEV Challenge Cup finals!

Men's Challenge Cup Final 2021

Men’s Challenge Cup Final 2021

The 2021 CEV Challenge Cup Final will take place on March 17th and it will be contested between Allianz Powervolley Milano and Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara. Both teams will be feeling confident about their chances of securing some long-awaited silverware in this competition. With last year’s event having been canceled, there is likely to be a huge appetite for this game, and it should be a fascinating spectacle between two in-form teams.

Allianz Powervolley Milano

Although Italian teams have a terrific record in this competition, Milano were the country’s only representative in this year’s event. They’ve been relentless so far with straightforward victories against Calcit Volley Kamnik and Dinamo Bucuresti en-route to the final.

Although they made a shaky start at the SC Baskent Sports Hall in Ankara, they bounced back in superb style with a 3-1 success in the first leg. They were far more comfortable a week later, running out 3-0 winners at home.

Coach Roberto Piazza was delighted with his side’s performance and praised the mental approach of his team. Milano showed great awareness and intensity throughout and despite the potential distraction of the SuperLega playoffs, they managed to focus on the task and book their place in the 2021 Challenge Cup Final.

They will need to ensure that they make a faster start in the showpiece event, as they had to fight back in the first set of the second leg from 0-6 down. Their recent form is likely to see them priced up as favorites with the majority of online betting sites, however, despite having already seen off Turkish opposition in the semi-finals, this will not be a straightforward task.

Tine Urnaut top-scored with 19 points and the talented Slovenian will be crucial to their chances of lifting the trophy. After scoring 11 points in the first leg, Milano will be relying upon their talisman to lead them to glory in both sets. Jean Gatry’s return to form has also arrived at the right time and the Frenchman will also be crucial to his side’s chances of securing their first-ever success in the Challenge Cup.

Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara

Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara were almost on the wrong end of a shock defeat in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, however, they narrowly avoided elimination against a plucky VK Lvi Praha side.

Despite this, they have been in excellent form and displayed a wonderful mental toughness to fight back. They dropped the opening set in the second leg, however, an inspired turnaround saw them claim the next three before taking that positive momentum into the Golden Set.

Although there were high-scoring performances from a number of players including Wouter Ter Maat and Maarten Van Garderen, it was the Bulgarian Martin Atanasov who stole the show once again in Ankara. He scored 26 points in total and was instrumental in helping his side turn the match in their favor.

They’ve been in terrific form domestically, although they’ll be keen to add some silverware to their collection this month.

Coach Giampaolo Medei, who has previously managed in Milan, will be keen to continue his side’s momentum and become the first Turkish side to triumph in the competition since 2014 when rivals Fenerbahce Grundig lifted the trophy.


Match Prediction

This is set to be a magnificent occasion for both teams and there may be a few nerves on display during the opening stages. However, both sides are closely matched and deserve their place in this final.

However, the performance of APM in the semi-final tips the balance in their favor. They put in an incredibly assured performance and despite a slow start in the second leg, they rarely looked like being defeated.

Ziraat Bankasi SK Ankara had to do it the hard way and will be buoyed by their efforts in the previous round. However, this may just be a step too far. Milano have a mental fortitude that should benefit them here and although they may need a Golden Set, they should edge this and lift the Challenge Cup on March 17th.

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