The Belgian team Maaseik is having the best start in the CEV Champions League in their history, considering their rivals in Pool C: after beating Halkbank away in the first round, they have downed the Russian powerhouse Zenit Kazan after an unbeliavable comeback, from 0-2 to 3-2.
After a 2-0 lead, Zenit were probably thinking that the match is over, however, after great performance in the last three sets, the Belgian side has won the match and scored one of the most important wins in the recent history. Jelte Maan was the top scorer in Maaseik with 20 points, while on the other side Maxim Mikhailov scored 29 and Tsvetan Sokolov 25. Zenit now is placed last in Pool C!
Jelte Maan, player of VC Greenyard MAASEIK: “If I have to rate this victory on a scale from 1 to 10, I guess it will be around 10. It’s been an amazing win, an amazaing fight. The fact that we saved matchpoint in both our Champions League games, proves that we somehow find a way to fight. We also have to thank the guys coming in from the bench. They did a real good job.”
We saw one more upset in the Round as ACH Volley Ljubljana downed Kuzbass Kemerovo in five sets as well. Bozidar Vucicevic had an absolute fantastic game, scoring 36 points for the Slovenian side, while Yaroslav Podlesnyk scored 21 points on the other side.
Jan Pokeršnik, player of ACH Volley Ljubljana: “Tough game today, but luckily we managed to win. We left our heart on the court. It’s a shame we didn’t win third and fourth set, we were so close, but we didn’t serve and receive so good as in the first two. Russians found their game and moved us further from the net. Still, here are big two points, that nobody expected, but us players and the whole team we believed in the victory.”
Matija Pleško, Head Coach of ACH Volley Ljubljana: “Sets were more on less on the difference, which could go in other directions or it could be 3:0. Statisticaly we were pretty close in all aspects, but we were a bit better in reception, which made it possible for our setter to play his game and we were a big threat to them untill the end.”
Moreover, Perugia, Fakel and Jastrzebski have scored 3-0 victories in matches against their rivals, Tours, Berlin and Halkbank respectively.
The big match between Tours and Perugia was set off on a great start with a thrilling 32:30 for the Italians. Despite being up 5 points in this first set and having two set points, Tours lost it to the squad led by Leon. The next two sets were easier for Vital Heynen’s side as they won them 19 and 18. Ukrainian Oleh Plotnytskyi was the top scorer with 18 points.
Hubert Henno, Head Coach of TOURS VB: “Against this kind of team you have to play hard all the time and not give up any opportunities. The learning of the high level is done on these games. It takes a lot of effort to move from “good team” to “very good team“.
Wilfredo Leon, player of Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA: “The first set was difficult for us, we had difficulties to goal, but we were focused on the game to come in our game again. Tours was pretty close from us in this first set. They were pushing us.”
2020 Volleyball CEV Champions League, pool stage – Round 2
Jihostroj České Budějovice (CZE) – Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) 1-3 (18:25, 25:21, 13:25, 22:25)
Itas Trentino (ITA) – Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta Istanbul (TUR) 3-2 (21:25, 23:25, 25:18, 25:17, 16:14)
ACH Volley Ljubljana (SLO) – Kuzbass Kemerevo (RUS) 3-2 (25:23, 25:16, 25:27, 23:25, 19:17)
Fakel Novy Urengoy (RUS) – Berlin Recycling Volleys (GER) 3-0 (25:22, 25:18, 25:17)
Jastrzębski Węgiel (POL) – Halkbank Ankara (TUR) 3-0 (25:17, 25:17, 25:21)
VC Greenyard Maaseik (BEL) – Zenit Kazan (RUS) 3-2 (20:25, 18:25, 25:23, 25:22, 20:18)
Benfica Lisboa (POR) – Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa (POL) 3-1 (25:19, 25:17, 22:25, 25:21)
Tours VB (FRA) – Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia (ITA) 0-3 (30:32, 19:25, 18:25)
Knack Roeselare (BEL) – Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) 0-3 (17:25, 19:25, 21:25)
Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad (SRB) – VFB Friedrichshafen (GER) 0-3 (20:25, 21:25, 20:25)
Source and Photos: CEV