The top two teams in the standings will go head to head when the last round of the regular season in Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca takes place on Sunday. One of six fixtures this weekend, the match will offer a gigantic clash between table leaders and recent Coppa Italia winners Sir Safety Conad Perugia and defending national champions Cucine Lube Civitanova.
Clash of giants in last round of SuperLega regular season
Perugia v Lube is one of Sunday’s six Italian men’s league matches available live and on demand on Volleyball TV
Published 07:00, 16 Mar 2022
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Another chapter of the biggest rivalry in Italian men’s volleyball in recent years is set to start at 18:00 local time at Perugia’s PalaBarton, offering a taste of what could be the battle in the final championship series a few weeks from now, should the two teams live up to their status as gold medal favourites.
In fact, these two teams were the main protagonists in the last three editions of the Italian championship final, with Perugia winning in 2018 and Civitanova claiming the titles in 2019 and 2021 (the 2020 competition was prematurely interrupted by the pandemic). In the last four seasons, they also went face to face in the finals of the national cup. Sir Safety triumphed with the trophies in 2018 and 2019. Lube took the next two, in 2020 and 2021. The club from Perugia also defeated their opponents in two recent editions of the Italian Supercup, in 2017 and 2020.
In their most recent encounter, Perugia celebrated a 3-1 (25-15, 25-20, 28-30, 25-21) away victory at Civitanova Marche’s Eurosuole Forum in a 13th round SuperLega game played on December 19, with Cuba-born Polish star Wilfredo Leon contributing the match-high 27 points towards his team’s success.
Ahead of Sunday’s match, Perugia are on a 15-game winning streak across all competitions, and an overall 28-2 run since the beginning of November. They are on top of the SuperLega standings on a 21-2 win-loss record and 64 points, 10 clear of Lube, and have already secured pole position for the playoffs.
Lube’s series of eight back-to-back SuperLega wins, which started in late December, was interrupted earlier this month by a four-set loss to Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena. On a record of 18 victories and four defeats, they are second, a point clear of third-placed Itas Trentino Trento. The game on Sunday offers Lube one of two opportunities to get that runner-up position locked in, as they also have a postponed game against Allianz Milano to play at home next Wednesday.
The two teams are expected to arrive at the PallaBarton on Sunday with star-studded squads. In addition to Leon, Perugia coach Nikola Grbic will rely on players like Simone Giannelli, Sebastian Sole, Matthew Anderson and Massimo Colaci, to name a few. The spectators will also be able to enjoy the performance of coach Gianlorenzo Blengini’s stellar line-up, featuring the likes of Luciano De Cecco, Robertlandy Simon, Ricardo Lucarelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Simone Anzani, etc. Osmany Juantorena’s return to the court after a long period recovering from an injury is also a possibility.
“The match with Lube will be a good test ahead of the playoffs. The mentality of both teams is to always take to the court to win. To play against opponents of the highest level is very motivating because mentally you know that later you will probably also face them in the hottest phases of the various competitions. Therefore it will be a very nice match and we will have to approach it at our maximum.” Dragan Travica, setter of Sir Safety Conad Perugia