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Nimir Abdel-Aziz was the leading protagonist in Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena’s fantastic comeback from two sets down to defeat hosts Sir Safety Conad Perugia on Wednesday evening in the third match of their SuperLega Credem Banca semifinal playoff. The Dutch opposite fired five aces towards an amazing match high of 39 points as Modena now lead the best-of-five series by two wins to one.

The series will now head back to Modena for Sunday’s fourth game (18:00 local time), which could prove crucial if coach Andrea Giani’s team win again. The other semifinal playoff, between Cucine Lube Civitanova and Itas Trentino, could end as early as Thursday evening, if the squad from Trento manage to claim a third win when they visit Lube at 20:30. All SuperLega matches are available live and on demand on Volleyball TV.

Perugia denied Modena’s first set point and scored three in a row to claim the opening frame. They doubled their lead after a tight second set, but a turnaround was on the cards. After dominating set three and saving two Perugia match points in a deeply extended fourth set, Modena pushed the match to a tie-breaker, which they won by the narrowest of margins for a 3-2 (24-26, 22-25, 25-16, 31-29, 15-13) victory, after two hours and 33 minutes of play.

Top Scorer - Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Perugia v. Modena)

In addition to his five points from serves, Abdel-Aziz scored 34 times in offence at a success rate of 59% for a well-deserved Most Valuable Player nomination. French star Earvin Ngapeth added another 21 points, including two kill blocks and registering 51% success in attack. Dragan Stankovic impressed in the middle of the net by scoring 89% of his first tempo hits. Brazilian playmaker Bruno Rezende also had a big day, helping to convert the team’s 35% success rate in reception to a 56% success rate in spiking. He scored four times himself (1 ace, 1 spike, 2 blocks).

“We live for these matches and these moments. It was a very tough game against a top-level team. We had the patience to stay in the game at all times and were successful!” Modena captain Bruno Rezende

Top Plays from Sir Safety Conad Perugia vs. Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena

Luxembourgish opposite Kamil Rychlicki was Perugia’s leading scorer on 20 points. He hammered two aces and spiked at a 56% success rate. Cuban-born Polish star Wilfredo Leon added another 18 points (1 block, 55% in attack) for Perugia.

“We were two sets ahead, but it doesn't matter when you are in the playoffs. I'm a bit sorry for the start of the third set and especially for the fourth. We had the ball to win it and we weren't good enough to use it effectively. In the end, we were missing just two points, but obviously those were two points that we should have scored in order to win.” Perugia setter Simone Giannelli
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