CSKA SOFIA started well (2:5) but Iraklis got the lead back (8:7, 11:9); an ace of Evgeni Ivanov turned the score around once again (12:13) but Iraklis restored its leadership by the second technical time-out (16:14) to finish it off at 25-21.
The home guys dictated the tempo also in set 2 (8:4, 11:7, 16:11) and even though the head coach of CSKA SOFIA, Aleksandar Popov, asked for a couple of time-outs, still Iraklis did not relent the course to go for the final 25-19.
Things changed a bit in set 3 as CSKA SOFIA set the pace (3:6, 9:12, 12:16) to claim that section of the game with the comfortable score of 16-25.
Three points scored by Andrej Kravarik helped Iraklis go to the front in the fourth set (10:7) before the home side widened the margin (14:9); CSKA SOFIA fought back to 15:14 but Iraklis got back momentum to finish it at 25-21 to the delight of some 2’500 fans.
Cuban Rolando Despaigne – who debuted tonight in the Champions League – paced Iraklis with 23 points, well supported by Andrej Kravarik who scored 22 while Stefanov totaled 19 for CSKA SOFIA.
“We claimed a very important game and we now have the last match with Noliko MAASEIK next week. Our target was to remain in contention for a ticket to the Playoffs 12 until the very end and I want to congratulate my players for achieving this goal” says home coach Sotirios Drikos.
“We tried to deliver a good performance and we succeeded in doing this for some sections of the game. I hope we’ll claim at least one win next week while hosting Arkas IZMIR in Sofia” concludes the mentor of CSKA, Aleksandar Popov.