Mladost Zagreb, from Croatia, inflicted another heavy defeat to English titleholders IBB Polonia London to qualify for the 2nd Round of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League.
IBB Polonia brought the first-ever Champions League match to the United Kingdom, but failed to bounce back from a heavy defeat in the Croatian capital in the first leg of the 1st Round. The rematch was also over in straight sets for Mladost: 3-0 (25:9, 25:12, 25:22).
Unlike the first match, Polonia head coach Evangelos Koutouleas could count on Brazilian legend Gilberto Filho “Giba” but the 2004 Olympic Games winner did not help much his team scorinfg 2 points in 2 sets, with 25% attack. However, this should not surprise anyone because Giba was enjoying his five-year retirement until March this year. Ivan Raić was the top scorer for Mladost with 13 points. Bulgarian Mihail Stoev made 14 on the other side.
Gilberto Godoy Filho, player of IBB Polonia LONDON: “The team from Croatia played unbelievable volleyball, but we will keep going. We need to train more, find more sponsors and keep promoting this beautiful sport. It is super important that IBB Polonia LONDON are doing this. The atmosphere was just like in Brazil; they party hard and don’t stop until the end.”
Evangelos Koutouleas, head coach of IBB Polonia LONDON: “We have to realise that we are at the transition from amateurs to professionals. We played against a super professional team and we can see the result. During training today, only half of the team were available, as they were working. I am very happy for the great third set that we played. It was not that the other team gave us points. Believe me this was amazing: listen to my voice!”
Ivan Raic, captain of Mladost ZAGREB: “We came here for a victory and this is what we achieved. We will play the champions of Austria next. In London we played an excellent match and in two sets we performed solidly. In the third set we lost concentration, but despite this, we won. The atmosphere was amazing; I hope we will come back to play IBB Polonia LONDON again some time and hope that they will continue to improve. Let’s see each other again in the Champions League.”
Radovan Malevic, head coach of Mladost ZAGREB: “The match in Zagreb was hard, because this was the first time that we saw this English team. After the first match, we did our scouting and had a solid match plan organised ahead of today. The first two sets were good for us, because technically we are a better team. The third set gave us some technical problems and I had to make some changes; but finally we won the match 3-0 and we enjoyed the atmosphere in the hall. The organisation was very very good from the home team. I want everything good for this club. I think England must have a good team in the Champions League because England is a big country. I think they have the possibility to do so.”
IBB Polonia London (ENG) – Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 0-3 (9-25, 12-25, 22-25), 1st leg 0-3
Source and photos: CEV