Skip Navigation Links
27/12/2020 09:30
Dinamo MOSCOW claim star-studded Russian Cup Final Four tournament
News from the National Federations

Luxembourg, December 27, 2020. After coming back from two sets down in the semi-final match with Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK, Dinamo MOSCOW produced a dominant display on Saturday to rout Zenit SAINT PETERSBURG 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-19) and claim the Russian national cup title in Saint Petersburg. Tsvetan Sokolov top scored in the match with 18 points, but the MVP award went to the setter of Dinamo, Pavel Pankov. Earlier this week, Zenit SAINT PETERSBURG had edged pre-favourites Zenit KAZAN at the tiebreak in another dramatic semi-final.

Dinamo claimed their third title in the competition, repeating the feat they had previously achieved in 2006 and 2008. Zenit SAINT PETERSBURG, on the other hand, lost the final match for the third straight year. Zenit KAZAN had previously swept the title for six years in a row but their streak in the competition ended in the semis.

“I have never tried to look for excuses for such losses,” said the coach of Zenit SAINT PETERSBURG, Tuomas Sammelvuo. “We played five sets against Zenit KAZAN last night but when you play the final, the concept of ‘tiredness’ should not exist. The most important thing is that our rivals showed 55% efficiency in attack, whereas the same figure stands at 45% for us. I believe this is what determined the result.” Was it hard for Zenit to play without the injured Oreol Camejo? “As I said before, we are not looking for any excuses. We are a team. When someone suffers an injury, this happens in sport. We took a risk by lining up Dmitrii Pashitskii, although he has not fully recovered and has not held a single training session with a hundred percent workload after he was injured earlier this year.”

MVP Pavel Pankov of Dinamo MOSCOW awarded by the Secretary General of the Volleyball Federation of Russia, Alexander Yaremenko

“Of course, I am very happy,” said Pankov after the match. “We prepared well for this game, and we are in a great mood. The day before in the semifinals, we literally managed to perform a miracle coming back from two sets down and 15-19 in the third set.” Pankov somehow played down the importance of the MVP award: “The main thing is that our team won the cup.”

Konstantin Brianskii, the head coach of Dinamo, looked calm and composed after the triumph. “I think that Zenit could not deliver their top performance in this match since they had played five sets last night. Moreover, it seems to me that they looked less prepared than we were. We knew that this match was a winner-takes-all game and went out there with this in mind.”

Dinamo MOSCOW and Zenit SAINT PETERSBURG may well lock horns again in the final stage of the CEV Cup if they make it through their respective semi-final matches with MONTPELLIER Castelnau UC and VC Greenyard MAASEIK. “It is very difficult now to predict something, especially with regard to European competitions,” Brianskii commented. “The pandemic is constantly causing adjustments, so no one can yet say when and in what format the decisive matches of the CEV Cup will be taking place. Zenit and Dinamo have reached the semi-finals, what will happen next, we will see.”

A large number of fans attended the matches of the Russian national cup in Saint Petersburg, quite a rarity in times of coronavirus pandemic. “I want to thank them very much, we heard them very well,” the coach of Dinamo said. “Their support really helped a lot - both today and in the semi-finals. I want to thank the St. Petersburg fans as well. It is great that the Volleyball Federation of Russia decided to hold the Final Four with audience. The atmosphere in the hall was excellent.”