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26/01/2016 21:38
2015 gold medallists Zenit KAZAN complete pool stage with sixth straight win
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Kazan, Russia, January 26, 2016. In the final round of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men group stage Russia’s Zenit KAZAN routed Austria’s champions Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-21) at home and qualified for the Playoffs on top of the Pool D charts. Vladimir Alekno’s team delivered a great performance in the first half of the tournament: the team from Tatarstan claimed maximum 18 points out of six matches and dropped only one set on their way to recording six consecutive wins.

Zenit KAZAN middle blockers Ivan Demakov and Alexey Kuleshov became the dominant figures of the first set having altogether scored eight points. As the Russian armada made it 16-9 at the second technical time-out of the opening set, the mentor of the reigning CL champions decided to bring in his 19-year-old son Loran (pictured) who helped the giants from Tatarstan sweep their opponents aside with a commanding 25-16 win.

Brazilian-born outside spiker Gabriel Soares Pessoa joined the Austrian line-up from the bench and literally galvanised the game of Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK as the second set turned into a much closer race. Zenit KAZAN snatched a compelling victory at the very end of the set thanks to superb blocks by Wilfredo Leon and Ivan Demakov who altogether claimed four straight points (25-22).

In the third set the two teams played head to head to delight the local fans with spectacular rallies but towards the end of the set end Zenit KAZAN scored some important points, once again by means of their humongous blocks. On top of this, Gabriel Soares Pessoa hit the net and Stefan Chrtiansky served out of bounds turning the even score from 17-17 to 21-17, thus paving the way for the final 25-21 win by the home side.

“I am satisfied with the way my team played in the second and third sets, my squad looked confident and offered a good game to the strongest team in Europe,” said the head coach of Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK, Daniel Gavan.

“It is a big advantage for us that the two sets turned out to be so tight. In the Playoffs we will face serious opponents and the match against Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK was a good preparation for us,” said Zenit KAZAN opposite Maxim Mikhailov who topped the charts in the match with 16 points.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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