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02/03/2016 21:58
Zenit KAZAN rout Poland’s vice champions to go for remake of 2012 final
2016 CEV DenizBank Champions League Volleyball - Men

Kazan, Russia, March 2, 2016. In the second leg of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men Playoffs 12 Russian titans Zenit KAZAN demolished Lotos Trefl GDANSK of Poland in three straight sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-22). Terrific serves and unsurpassable blocks contributed by the Tatar giants were the key ingredients of Zenit KAZAN’s win on Wednesday night. On the other hand, it was a disappointing night for Lotos best scorer Troy Murphy who caught a bad start right from the first set of the matchup with the 2015 gold medal winners of Europe’s elite competition.

After the first match in Gdansk, the head coach of Zenit KAZAN Vladimir Alekno had complained about a weak performance of his mentees at blocking. On Wednesday night the Russian armada broke away right in the outbreak of the match opener thanks to masterful play in that aspect of the game. Solid blocks by Matthew Anderson nullified all the attempts of Mateusz Mika to seal the Polish attacks, while Andrey Ashchev literally arrested all the spikes executed by Murphy Troy and Artur Ratajczak. As a result the score initially standing at 6-all rapidly turned into a comfortable 13-7 lead for Zenit and from then on everything went just easy for the Tatars.

The Russians smashed Poland’s vice-champions in the second set cruising to an undisputed 25-16 victory. The visitors could do nothing to counteract the terrific serves by Maxim Mikhailov, Wilfredo Leon and Matthew Anderson. Zenit KAZAN scored time and again thanks to their perfect defence and tenacious blocks. Eight points claimed by Wilfredo Leon made him the real home hero of this set.

Having won the second set Zenit KAZAN secured their place in the next round of Europe’s elite competition. The final result of the match lost its significance for the Tatars and the coaching staff gave a break to the team leaders whilst the reserve players had the opportunity to perform.  

The club from Tatarstan will now take on another Polish team, PGE Skra BELCHATOW in a remake of the 2012 gold medal match won by Zenit KAZAN after a dramatic tie-break.

“The guys did a good job. Unlike the first leg, much has been done at blocking and in defence as well. It’s an open secret that in today’s Volleyball tactical serves could be much more challenging and cause a lot more troubles than more powerful ones. We were ready for it,” commented after the match Zenit KAZAN head coach Vladimir Alekno.

“There is a very big difference between our teams. Of course, we had no great expectations when we came to know that we would play against Zenit KAZAN. Our team has just a few players that have experience of playing in the Champions League and for our club qualifying for the Playoffs 12 this season is a good achievement in my opinion,” admitted Lotos Trefl GDANSK head coach Andrea Anastasi.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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