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19/02/2015 20:08
Zenit KAZAN knock out PIACENZA, extend winning streak to 27 matches by sealing ticket to Playoffs 6
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men

Kazan, Russia, February 19, 2015. Copra Volley PIACENZA became the first team in this year’s CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men to claim at least one set in a match against Russia’s giants Zenit KAZAN, but this success was transient. The Russian champions completed their task of qualifying to the next round after winning the third set of the re-match with the Italians and for the second year running routed the opponent kicking them out from the fight for the most coveted European trophy (3:2; 25-13, 24-26, 25-14, 30-32, 15-10). Vladimir Alekno mentees will now challenge Turkey’s Halkbank ANKARA in the Playoffs 6 for a spot in the Final Four tournament scheduled for March 28-29 in Berlin, Germany. 

In the first set the team from Tatarstan blew away the Italians’ hopes of what would have been a sensational away victory following their 0:3 home loss from last week. Zenit KAZAN claimed the set with a terrific margin – 25:13 – thanks to highly efficient attacks and a continuous series of whipping serves by Wilfredo Leon and Matthew Anderson.

However, after claiming the opening set so comfortably, the Russian champions lost concentration. The hosts trailed right from the start of the second set (3:7) and managed to level up with PIACENZA only later on by virtue of a strong and masterful performance displayed by Anderson and Maxim Mikhailov – 22:22. The Tatars made nevertheless two mistakes in the most critical moment and ended up losing a set for the first time in this year’s edition of the Champions League, since they had not dropped any in the seven matches they had previously contested.

In the third set the Tatar armada smashed their rivals with storm-like devastating services. Nikolay Apalikov, Wilfredo Leon, Matthew Anderson and Maxim Mikhailov tormented PIACENZA scoring loads of aces, and leading massively (16:8) by the second technical time-out. The set came to an end at 25-14 and with this Zenit had secured their promotion to the Playoffs 6 and so the final score of the match lost its significance.

Vladimir Alekno substituted only four players from the starting six. The second lines put on a real battle against the visitors but eventually lost the fourth set by 30-32. In the tie-break the ‘gladiators’ from Tatarstan minimised their mistakes, whilst setter Igor Kobzar interacted perfectly with Andrey Ashchev and Zenit KAZAN added another victory to its winning streak, making it 27 matches in a row.

“The match scenario that unfolded tonight was the most favourable, in my opinion. We made it to the next round already after the third set, which gave me the opportunity to experiment with a different line-up and, moreover, all the players had a chance to play,” said the head coach of Zenit KAZAN Vladimir Alekno after the match.

“I believe my mentees played well against one of the strongest teams in the world. We have been focused and committed. But Zenit KAZAN is now the number one in the Champions League,” commented the head coach of Copra Volley PIACENZA, Andrea Radici.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

News nr. 11233 of 23547
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Dinamo MOSCOW rout Italian champions PIACENZA to move on to Playoffs 6
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