Galatasaray outplayed, outclassed and outscored Italian giant Yamamay 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22) in a thrilling first-leg final of the women's European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Cup at the famous Burhan Felek Sports Hall in İstanbul on Tuesday evening.
The result means that the Galatasaray women now have one hand on the trophy and will be brimming with confidence when they take on Yamamay away in Italy in the do-or-die second leg on Saturday.
Host Galatasaray, backed by thousands of chanting and flag-waving home fans, started offensively and easily won the first set 25-16; but the Italians came back into the game in the second set, winning 22-25. Galatasaray upped the tempo in the third set to win 25-23 before wrapping up the game 25-22 in the fourth.
Galatasaray will be the new CEV Cup champion if it beats Yamamay on the road on Saturday. And even if the İstanbul side loses in regulation time, a golden set (tie-breaker) will be used to determine the 2012 champ.
Galatasaray is the third Turkish team to play in the CEV Cup final. Eczacıbaşı and Emlakbank earned the final tickets in 1993 and 1996, respectively; however, neither of them won.
Turkey, indeed, has become a force to reckon with in continental volleyball. Fenerbahçe Universal was crowned the new European champ after crushing French powerhouse RC Cannes 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-20) in the final of the women's CEV Champions League in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Sunday. And now Galatasaray is on the verge of clinching the women's cup.