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04/04/2017 22:30
Zenit KAZAN claim Russian derby to set sights on trip to Rome
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Kazan, Russia, April 4, 2017. On Tuesday, Zenit KAZAN won their first match against Belogorie BELGOROD in the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men Playoffs 6. After comfortably taking the first two sets (25-14, 25-17), the team of Vladimir Alekno faced fierce resistance in the third but eventually snatched a strong-willed victory in the fourth set (26-24).

In the first set, the block of Zenit KAZAN literally nullified all of Dmitriy Muserskiy’s attacks, not giving him even a single chance to score a point. Zenit KAZAN wracked the opponent with thundering serves and edged ahead extending their lead to five points halfway through the set. Two terrific aces from Matthew Anderson predetermined the outcome of the set (20-10).

Belogorie BELGOROD had no leader to set the tempo of their game in the second set. Opposites Roman Danilov and Maxim Zhigalov scored none in ten attacks. Zenit, on the contrary, could rely on brilliant play by Maxim Mikhailov and Wilfredo Leon who overwhelmed the rivals and the Tatars cruised to a comprehensive 25-17 win.   

The third set turned out a way more tense and electrifying. The Belgorod titans got back on track and fought back from three points down bringing the set to a nerve-wracking finish that was heroically sealed by their outside spiker Ian Iereshchenko with as many as eight decisive points.

Zenit KAZAN had to fight back after suffering a setback at the beginning of the fourth set (0-4). It took some efforts to the host team to stop the impressive Sergey Tetyukhin and an impeccable Iereshchenko. Zenit KAZAN closed in at 16-all and ace contributed by Alexander Butko finished it all off (26-24) for a 3-1 victory by the 2015 and 2016 Champions League gold medal winners.

“It is good that we managed to pull out a victory. In the third set, Iereshchenko successfully came into the game, but we lost it only because of our own mistakes,” said after the match Zenit KAZAN head coach Vladimir Alekno.

“Zenit KAZAN is a strong opponent and, first of all, we had to cope with our own emotions, play our game and stick to the plan. However, we failed to fulfil that task,” said after the match the head coach of Belogorie BELGOROD, Alexander Kosarev.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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