Just like in the preliminary round, Brazilian Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei beat fierce rivals of Zenit Kazan, from Russia, in straight sets but this time they progressed to the final of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship.
Cruzeiro repeated a very good performance against Zenit to beat them by 3-0 (25:21, 25:22, 25:23) in front of their own crowd in Betim in the semifinals. Thus, the Brazilian vice-champions will seek the fourth title in the tournament but will have to wait for a few more hours to learn the name of the rivals in the gold medal encounter as Cucine Lube Civitanova and Al-Rayyan Sports Club set off their clash at 21:00 CET.
The attacks of Argentinean Facundo Conte from Cruzeiro were very efficient as he finished the match with 16 points through 73.7% success rate (14/19). On the other side of the net, the Frenchman Earvin Ngapeth was also on a high level with 17 points and 71.4% attack (15/21).
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei’s head coach Marcelo Mendez: “I think we played a great tactical match but the dedication of the players was what made the difference. They were really motivated and that led us to beat one of the best teams in the world, one that has players from numerous national teams. It’s been great so far, but know we have the final ahead of us and we need to prepare a new strategy.”
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei’s middle-blocker Isac Santos: “Sada has had a lot of success in the last few years, but this is a new team and we’re looking for a fresh start. I think we’ve been playing really well and there’s a lot of room for improvement as we experience new situations. To be in the final is just a reflex of how hard we work and how much we trust this project. There’s obviously a lot of quality in our team but I think our performance was also boosted by our motivation.”
Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei’s libero Lukinha de Deus: “I think it was a similar match when compared to meeting in the preliminary round, even though I believe our serves were stronger in the first match. Our strategy was good, our blocking and defense worked and our counter-attacking was very effective. We’re kind of rebuilding our team and make it to the final of a tournament like this by beating a strong team like Zenit twice, it shows we’re headed to the right direction.”
Zenit Kazan’s head coach Alexey Verbov: “It’s weird, this teams looks nothing the one that was playing at the Russian Championship just one week ago. It’s not our team. I can’t really find a reason for that and, as the coach, I also take blame myself because I should be able to make moves and change things ahead of such an important match as the semifinal. We played them twice and we lost 3-0 both times, so there’s not really a lot to say about it.”
2019 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship – semifinals
(2) Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei (BRA) – (3) Zenit Kazan (RUS) 3-0 (25:21, 25:22, 25:23)
(1) Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – (4) Al-Rayyan Sports Club (QAT), 21:00 CET
Source and photo: clubworldchampionships.2019.men.fivb.com