Champions League: Zenit Kazan achieve hard-fought victory against ACH Ljubljana, ZAKSA at 3 of 3, Belchatow and Perugia ok
In what was predicted to be the most hard encounter in day 3, Poland’s PGE Skra Bełchatów downed Turkey’s Fenerbahçe HDI İstanbul in four sets in Pool A. Bartosz Filipiak and Iranian Milad Ebdipour scored 20 points each on the winning side with the latter making 76% attack (19/25).
Grzegorz Lomacz, setter and captain of PGE Skra Belchatow: “There were some nerves and I must admit our rivals set the bar high for us. There was an unnecessarily nervous atmosphere in the third set. The most important thing is that we met our minimum plan and we are fighting for at least the second place in the pool.”
Milad Ebadipour, outside hitter of PGE Skra Belchatow: “It was a good match and a good tournament, although at the beginning we were a bit unlucky. Let’s be honest that we lost to one of the best teams in Poland. The second tournament will be important for each of us. I want to have Champions League medal!”
Ulas Kiyak, setter and captain of Fenerbahce HDI Istanbul: “If you have 20 per cent efficiency in reception, it is difficult to make effective attacks, but I am glad that my team fought to the end and we were quite close to a tiebreak.”
Izzet Unver, outside spiker of Fenerbahce HDI Sigorta: “First of all, I think we had a good tournament on our side. We fought well today. For the second tournament in the pool, we will prepare for each match in the same way. Again, we will fight until the last moment. We enjoy playing in the Champions League even without spectators.”
Skra’s fellow countrymen, also Pool A hosts, Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle ended the first tournament with a perfect record after surpassing Belgium’s Lindemans Aalst in straight sets. Middle blocker Jakub Kochanowski was the top scorer of the match with 13 points, including two aces and three blocks.
Aleksander Sliwka, outside hitter of Grupa Azoty Kedzierzyn-Kozle: “Watching the game from outside the court is also stressful. We are happy with the victories, but we know that the three tournament days are very tiring.”
Jakub Rybicki, outside hitter of Lindemans Aalst: “It was good to play against Polish teams, you can see how much work is still ahead of us and how strong the Polish league is. I would evaluate our performance positively as a whole.”
Italy’s Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia didn’t have problems against Pool B hosts, France’s Tours VB (3-0). Notable performance of Wilfredo Leon, MVP of the match, with 17 points, including 12 winning spikes, 4 aces, 1 block and 42% of positive receptions. Zouheir El Graoui top-scored for Tours VB with 11 points.
Aleksandar Atanasijevic,Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia: “A very important victory, Tours is an excellent team that defends a lot. We did well, they are three good points for the standing and now we are waiting for the tournament in Perugia in February.”
Vital Heynen, head coach of Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia: “It was important to win tonight, the players had a good reaction after the defeat against Civitanova. Now we are playing the qualification in Perugia.”
Nathan Wounembaina, Tours VB: “There is big difference between both team but we show we can play a high level.”
Zenit Kazan had to work hard to victoriously close the first tournament of the pool stage. After beating Poland’s Jastrzębski Węgiel by a forfeit, and then sweeping Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys, it was expected that Russia’s Zenit Kazan will have the easiest job of all in Pool C, in Berlin. However, Slovenia’s ACH Volley Ljubljana turned out to be a tough nut to crack. Vladimir Alekno’s wards achieved a four-set victory, partially 25:16, 19:25, 25:23, and 28:26.
📌| 2021 CEV Volleyball Champions League, pool stage – Day 3
📌| POOL A
• Fenerbahce HDI Istanbul (TUR) – PGE Skra Belchatow (POL) 1-3 (18:25, 21:25, 25:23, 21:25)
• Grupa Azoty Kedzierzyn-Kozle (POL) – Lindemans Aalst (BEL) 3-0 (25:19, 25:19, 25:17)
📌| POOL B
• Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA (ITA) – TOURS VB (FRA) 3-0 (25:19; 25:22; 25:22)
📌| POOL C
• Zenit Kazan – ACH Volley Ljubljana 3-1 (25:16, 19:25, 25:23, 28:26)