Jastrzębski Węgiel recorded their 4th victory in as many games in Pool C of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League.
The Polish side didn’t give Halkbank Ankara any chance, beating Turkish rivals at their court in 3 completely one-way sets: 3-0 (25:18, 25:18, 25:15). The team coached by Serbian Kovač is the leader of the pool with a 4-0 score and 11 points, losing only 2 sets so far in the competition. Thus, the advancement of Jastrzębski to the quarterfinals is almost certain and they will have the chance to secure it in the next match, against Zenit Kazan, in front of their own crowd, on February 12. German Christian Fromm was the top scorer for the winners with 17 points.
Taner Atik, Halkbank head coach: “We have started the match very well and fought hard in the first two sets, but unfortunately coulld not keep it up in the third. It was not our game, but all of this is good experience for us.”
Abdullah Cam, Halkbank Ankara outside hitter: “I think we were not able to reflect our reality to the court. Maybe we were just thinking about our coming match of this weekend [in the domestic league]. That’s why we could not give our maximum and we made very simple errors which caused our defeat. I congratulate our opponents.”
As for Zenit Kazan, the Russians took revenge on Belgian VC Greenyard Maaseik for a stunning defeat in December and stormed past them in straight sets. Thus, Zenit are back in the race for the quarterfinals with a 2-2 score and 3 points less than Jastrzębski.
Joel Banks, VC Greenyard Maaseik head coach: “At Maaseik we just took our chance. Zenit were not in their best condition after a grueling flight from Brazil. In the return game, we did everything we could, but Zenit was too good. Our opponent played almost without any any errors and we could not score in attack. I am upset with the fact that we did not score more points in each set, but Zenit were just better than us.”
Aleksey Verbov, Zenit Kazan head coach: “Tonight we put a lot of pressure on the visiting team from the very first serve to the very last point that we scored and I would say I noticed some hesitation, lack of self-confidence, and even some kind of fear on the other side of the net. The victory we claimed tonight is courtesy of the whole team, each and every player. You know, it is our game to box the opponent in. The first playoff match is over, but there are two more ahead.”
Maxim Mikhailov, Zenit Kazan opposite: “We wanted to bounce back and make up for the bitter loss we suffered in the last match of the Champions League from Jastrzebski Wegiel. We were angry with ourselves and it galvanized us throughout the whole match. Since we lost to Maaseik in Belgium, it means we were not good enough.”
There are 2 more teams who took their revenge today: Kuzbass Kemerovo and Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa. Russian titleholders swept ACH Volley Ljubljana from Slovenia (lost 3-2 to them in Round 2) to return to the top of Pool A, while the team from the Polish capital smashed Benfica Lisboa from Portugal in straight sets to stay in contention for the next round.
Georghe Cretu, Kuzbass Kemerovo head coach: “I think that it’s good to play at home. Last game was on 7th December, it’s good to play in front of our fans, it’s special and I’m happy that we did it in a good way today. If you let them [ACH Volley Ljubljana], they can play good volleyball. But we are good volleyball players, really ambitious, always on the court and for this reason we stepped up and kept them always under pressure.”
Mikhail Shcerbakov, Kuzbass Kemerovo middle bloker: “It’s my first MVP ever and I’m very happy with that. Three-zero is a great score to win with and it’s good that all of those fine moments turned out in our favor, so to sum it up – it was a great game!”
Matiia Plesko, ACH Volley Ljubljana head coach: “They [Kuzbass Kemerovo] pushed with their great serving, so we had problems organising our game. But eventually I would say that kill blocks were the crucial thing in this game. We had just one, while the home team had eleven. When you finish a set over twenty, it’s really important that you make kill blocks – and we didn’t.”
Kyle Patrick Dagostino, ACH Volley Ljubljana libero: “I think we knew coming in to this environment that we need to be pretty much faultless in attack and service. We served pretty well but I think we ended up making unfortunate errors at critical times – times when we could have made runs, could have pushed Kuzbass further and potentially taken a set.”
Andrea Anastasi, Verva Warsaw Orlen Paliwa head coach: “We played much better than in Lisbon. We made far less mistakes, played more efficiently in attack and our block was functioning really well. Benfica’s players once again proved to be ambitious and combative. They were losing significantly in the third set and managed to catch up, but fortunately we played our best again in the end. We are happy to have three more points and still have a chance to play in the CEV Champions League quarterfinals.”
Jan Krol, Verva Warsaw Orlen Paliwa opposite: “Our whole team played very well today. Even before leaving Lisbon we had said we would win 3-0 in Warsaw. We were really angry at ourselves. Today we made that happen and we still have a chance to get to the quarterfinals. We now have to win against Tours VB and then surprise everyone in Perugia.”
Marcel Matz, Benfica Lisbon head coach: “Warsaw were much better today. They played great in block and defence, which resulted in us not finishing our attacks. The fans who created great atmosphere in the hall helped Warsaw a lot. Our visit to Poland, despite our loss, will be a nice memory.”
Ivo Casas, Benfica Lisbon libero: “We are going back to Portugal empty-handed, unfortunately. We did our best, but Warsaw were much better today. The Warsaw players defended our attacks and used their counterattacks. Congratulations and good luck in the upcoming matches.”
Sir Safety Monini Perugia achieve supremacy over Tours without 3 starters and continued to walk on the winning track, beating the rivals at home in Pool D. Italian runners-up recorded the 16th victory in a row, the 4th in the Champions League (in addition to the 11 in the national championship and one in the Italian Cup). By sweeping French titleholders Tours, the team coached by Vital Heynen probably took a decisive step towards qualifying for the quarterfinals, being separated from it only by mathematic. Perugia’s supremacy was clear today even though Belgian expert rested 3 starters: Cuban-Polish León, Serbian Podraščanin, and Argentinean De Cecco (entered the court on few occasions as Zhokowski’s backup). Ukrainian Oleh Plotnytskyi scored 18 points for the winnets, including 5 aces. As a result, he is named MVP of the match. Hermans Egleskalns scored 11 for Tours.
Aleksandar Atanasijevic, Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia opposite: “It was very important to win this game tonight, most of all because we played at home. It has been an important victory because we played with our second team. I have to say that we played well since the beginning. Now we are focusing on Sunday’s match against Padova which will be hard but I feel that we will be successful.”
Hubert Henno, Tours VB head coach: “It is hard to play against Perugia. My team fought tonight – they did what they could. In France we are not used to this level of play. With Perugia you have to play very hard and we are not used to it. We have to learn to play as they do.”
Serbian champions Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad missed a huge opportunity to stun German runners-up VFB Friedrichshafen in Pool E as they were twice up by a set. This victory leaves their chance to take Playoffs.
2020 Volleyball CEV Champions League, pool stage – Round 4
• January 28
Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – Jihostroj České Budějovice (CZE) 3-1 (25:21, 25:19, 21:25, 25:19)
• January 30
Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta Istanbul (TUR) – Itas Trentino (ITA) 1-3 (17:25, 25:22, 29:27, 25:20)
• January 28
Berlin Recycling Volleys (GER) – Fakel Novy Urengoy (RUS) 2-3 (25:21, 25:15, 20:25, 22:25, 10:15)
• January 29
Kuzbass Kemerovo (RUS) – ACH Volley Ljubljana (SLO) 3-0 (25:19, 25:23, 25:21)
• January 29
Halkbank Ankara (TUR) – Jastrzębski Węgiel (POL) 0-3 (18:25, 18:25, 15:25)
Zenit Kazan (RUS) – VC Greenyard Maaseik (BEL) 3-0 (25:14, 25:10, 25:22)
• January 29
Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa (POL) – Benfica Lisboa (POR) 3-0 (25:21, 25:13, 25:22)
Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia (ITA) – Tours VB (FRA) 3-0 (25:21, 25:15, 25:21)
• January 28
Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) – Knack Roeselare (BEL) 3-0 (25:19, 25:18, 25:20)
• January 29
VFB Friedrichshafen (GER) – Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad (SRB) 3-2 (23:25, 25:18, 17:25, 25:20, 15:13)
Photos: cev.eu, volleytimes