Champions League: Without spectators, Zaksa stunned at home and Kuzbass through to semis
Kuzbass Kemerovo are through to the semifinals of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League.
Despite coming to the 2020 Champions League rematch in Poland with a 3-2 defeat from the first match at home, Russia’s titleholders Kuzbass Kemerovo beat Poland’s Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle in four sets (21:25, 25:23, 25:18, 25:20) and progressed to the semifinals.
Already known that the match would evolve if it wasn’t played behind the closed doors due to coronavirus outbreak. So, the encounter should have been held at the Arena Gliwice, which Zaksa chose to be their home for the Playoffs, in front of 6,000 spectators (that’s how many tickets were sold). Instead, it was held on the ground on which they regularly play, the Azoty hall, without the presence, not only, spectators but also journalists.
Viktor Poletaev was the best for Kuzbass, scoring 24 points, while Hungarian Árpád Baróti scored 15 points for Zaksa, and Paweł Zatorski made 77% reception (13 digs, 38% excellent).
Thus, Kuzbass joined Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova in the semis (won rematch vs. Belgium’s Knack Roeselare by a forfeit). The other two quarterfinal face-offs are postponed indefinitely.
Gheorghe Cretu, Kuzbass Kemerovo head coach: “We are happy because it is for us a historic promotion to the best four in Europe. I trained in Poland and I know Zaksa’s class, so both matches were in my opinion very even. Today we played hard in attack and our opponents made more mistakes that gave us a well-deserved win.”
Pawel Zatorski, Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle libero: “We were counting on promotion but the Russians showed that they are a top-notch team. We played a little weaker in defence. It is a pity that we lacked our additional player who are our fans.”
2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League, quarterfinals – 2nd leg
Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL) vs Kuzbass KEMEROVO (RUS) 3-1 (25:21, 23:25, 18:25, 20:25)
Source and photo: cev.eu