VC Greenyard Maaseik started the 2020 Volleyball CEV Champions League volleyball with a victory that came after a fantastic comeback: the Belgian champions were in a hopeless situation in Turkey against Halkbank Ankara in first round of Pool C. They trailed by a 0-2 in sets and even faced several match points of Halkbank but have successfully completed their first match in the competition 3-2 (20:25, 23:25, 29:27, 25:20, 15:10). Norwegian outside hitter Jonas Kvalen was the top scorer for the winning side with 26 points, which as many as Metin Toy scored on the other side of the net.
Taner Atik, head Coach Halkbank Ankara: “After they changed the setter, things changed in a negative way for us. Of course this is a Champions League Level, top level of volleyball. First two set we showed good level but after that our attack and contra-attack did not work very well. That’s why this is the result.”
Xavier Folguera Estruga, player VC Greenyard Maaseik: “It was a special win. We were loosing 2-0 and then we came back. It was very good to start the Champions League with a win. They put a lot of pressure on us and then we start leading. After the change of our coach, we started doing better.”
In a duel of the two Champions League debutants in Pool B, both from Russia, the country’s league titleholders Kuzbass Kemerovo swept Fakel Novy Urengoy by a 3-0. Yaroslav Podlesnykh and Mikhail Shcherbakov scored 11 points each for the winners with the latter making 5 winning blocks. Kuzbass’ main star Viktor Poletaev played only the first set. As for Fakel, Egor Kliuka scored 10 points.
Igor Kobzar, captain of Kuzbass KEMEROVO: “We were shocked by Victor Poletaev’s trauma, he turned the ankle, so we all had to take a bit from his game role. I think one of the reasons for our victory was that previous games, our match with Nova in National League helped us, but for Fakel – their game with Nizhny Novgorod took some of their power. Russian Championship is very demanding, and I think Fakel didn’t show their best. All of my teammates scored well. It’s hard to tell the best. Everyone and everything are important in the debut Champions League match.”
Camillo Placi, coach of Fakel NOVY URENGOY: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Kuzbass on the victory. Despite the fact that they lost Poletaev during the first set, the team did not shatter and played very well. Unfortunately, we were not able to show our level of play today, there were a lot of problems in the attack and on the block. In the first set we were not able to change the tide of the game, but if we would, everything could have turned out differently. The same thing happened in the second set”.
Perugia, Warszawa and Knack Roeselare have opened the competition in a victories way.
The Italian team was the only one out of these three previously mentioned that lost a set in the game. Benfica managed to steal one set from Perugia but that was everything we saw from the Portuguese team. Wilfredo Leon ended the match with 23 points while Aleksandar Atanasijevic also contributed with 19 points.
Aleksandar Atanasijevic, player of Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia: “We have not played at our best, but at the end we succeed in getting 3 points. We have started this Champions League well and this thanks to Oleh Plotnytskyi that made many points tonight. Congratulations to him.”
Matz Marcel, Coach of Benfica Lisboa: ”I liked my team. We played against a very strong team and it was an occasion for us to improve our volleyball.”
The Polish team Warszawa have started the Champions League group stage with a 3-0 victory over French side Tours. Artur Udrys was the top scorer with 15 points while Igor Grobelny contributed with 12 points.
Knack Roeselare have caused a major surprise, beating VFB Friedrichshafen away in straight sets 25:23, 25:21, 25:15. The Belgian national team member Hendrik Tuerlinckx scored 18 points to finish the match as the top scorer.
2020 Volleyball CEV Champions League, pool stage – Round 1
Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta Istanbul (TUR) – Jihostroj České Budějovice (CZE) 2-3 (20:25, 25:21, 25:17, 21:25, 12:15)
January 26, 2020:
Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – Itas Trentino (ITA)
Berlin Recycling Volleys (GER) – ACH Volley Ljubljana (SLO) 3-0 (25:21, 25:14, 26:24)
Kuzbass Kemerevo (RUS) – Fakel Novy Urengoy (RUS) 3-0 (26:24, 25:21, 25:18)
Halkbank Ankara (TUR) – VC Greenyard Maaseik (BEL) 2-3 (25:20, 25:23, 27:29, 20:25, 10:15)
Zenit Kazan (RUS) – Jastrzębski Węgiel (POL)
Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa (POL) – Tours VB (FRA) 3-0 (25:15, 25:22, 25:23)
Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia (ITA) – Benfica Lisboa (POR) 3-1 (25:18, 24:26, 25:15, 25:19)
Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) – Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad (SRB) 3-0 (25:20, 25:21, 25:21)
VFB Friedrichshafen (GER) – Knack Roeselare (BEL) 0-3 (23:25, 21:25, 15:25)
Source and Photos: CEV