Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei dominated over Zenit Kazan in one of the biggest classics of the world volleyball valid for the first round of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship played in Betim, Brazil.
Tournament hosts and three-time champions Sada Cruzeiro, pushed by more 3,000 fans in the Ginásio Poliesportivo Divino Ferreira Braga, destroy Russian powerhouse Zenit in the rematch of the 2015 and 2016 finals in straight sets, partially 25:20, 25:20, 25:22). The South American Championship titleholders were led on the court by the opposite hitter Evandro Guerra who scored 16 points. As for runners-up of the Russian league, outside hitter Maksim Mikhaylov scored 12 points.
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei’s setter Fernando ‘Cachopa’ Kreling: “We always leave everything we have on the court and today we were fantastic. We played really well and we neutralized their best skills. But it’s a long and tough week and more difficult games will be coming our way starting tomorrow, so we need to keep our focus.”
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei’s head coach Marcelo Mendez: “We played a good game. We did well in pretty much every skill – we served well, our blocking touched in a lot of balls and our offense was in good rhythm. I’m really proud of the team, but now we have to turn our focus to Lube as the match against them won’t be any easier.”
Zenit Kazan’s head coach Alexey Verbov: “It’s obviously not a good start for us, but a new tournament will start in the semifinals, so it’s not so bad for us. It’s a big time-difference and a very distinct weather here and we’re still adjusting to it. We also need to feel the new ball better. Sada Cruzeiro played really well today, but we need to find our game because it was a poor performance for us. We’ll be ready for next match and hopefully we can improve step-by-step.”
In the other match of Day 1, that actually opened the competition, European and Italian champions Cucine Lube Civitanova recorded an even easier victory against Asian Championship winners Al-Rayyan Sports Club titleholders but that was kind of expected. Luxembourgish Kamil Rykhlicki was the top scorer for Lube with 13 points, while Portuguese Marco Ferrerira made 9 points for the team from Qatar.
Cucine Lube Civitanova’s middle-blocker Robertlandy Simon: “I think we played well in the first match. We’re still adjusting to the venue and to the weather, which is very different from Italy right now. I think we still made way too many serve mistakes, but it will get better as the tournament progresses.”
Cucine Lube Civitanova’s opposite Kamil Rychlicki: “It was definitely a good start, but we cannot get ahead of ourselves. It’s important to win the first match and I think we played at a good level, but it’s just the beginning. I’m happy about the way I played too, it’s good that I could help the team. Al-Rayyan is my former club and I have a lot of friends there, so it added a nice spice to the game.”
Al-Rayyan Sports Club’s head coach Carlos Edwardo Schwanke: “I think we were a little nervous to start the match, partly because of the difference between the teams. We knew that it would be crucial for us to control their serves, but they are very strong from the service line and that was the tale of the game. But we did good things too and that’s what I expect from the team, that they use this opportunity to grow.”
2019 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship – Round 1
Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – Al-Rayyan Sports Club (QAT) 3-0 (25:16, 25:18, 25:13)
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei (BRA) – Zenit Kazan (RUS) 3-0 (25:20, 25:20, 25:22)
Source and photos: clubworldchampionships.2019.men.fivb.com