CEV Cup resumed on Tuesday with three “bubbles” in Montpellier, Pazardzhik and Las Palmas, with 16 teams fight for a spot in the semis of Europe’s second-tier competition.
Tournament favourites Zenit Saint Petersburg of Russia celebrated a 3-1 victory over hosts Hebar Pazardzhik, (24:26, 26-0:24, 25:14, 25:11) to make sure they would continue their path in the quarterfinals. Hebar had already made history by progressing to the 8th Finals of a European competition for the first time in their history. The next opponent for Zenit will be VK Dukla Liberec from Czech Republic, who delivered a very strong performance, despite reaching Pazardzhik after a long and exhausting journey, to beat Stroitel Minsk from Belarus in straighy sets (25:23, 30:28, 25:21), also thanks to 20 points scored by their star player Jan Stokr.
About another bubble in Las Palmas, Greenyard Maaseik needed three sets only to overhelm Sportoto Ankara. The impressive blocks of the Belgian team and some errors on the Turkish side of the net made the difference already in the opening set (25:18).
Mitchell Stahl, who registered a perfect 100% in attack, four blocks and two aces: “It is nice to perform like this against a team of this caliber and to move to the next round with this type of victory. The practice sessions went well the last couple of weeks and we were able to show that same level on court today. I do not know yet who our next opponent will be, the hosts from Las Palmas or Galatasaray, but we will see on game day what we can do against them.”
Pieter Verhees, middle blocker of MAASEIK: “This is for sure a good win. We did a good job. Just call it a complete team performance. We started off very well and put a lot of pressure on SK ANKARA. Only in the third set, we had a couple of weaker moments, but we could overcome them.”
Greenyard’s next opponent will be the hosts CV Guaguas Las Palmas who were able to take a surprise by beating by a 3-1 (25:23, 27:25, 21:25, 25:18) Turkish of Galatasaray HDI Istanbul.
In Montpellier, teams from Serbia celebrated a 3-1 victory (22:25, 25:23, 25:20, 25:21) over IBB Polonia London of England to stay in contention for a spot in the semis
“We started the game very well, with a lot of energy,” Marcus Nilsson said after the loss. “However, we lost the rhythm as we went along. They have a very good team. We are disappointed with the result.”
“We are happy. The second set was the turning point of this match. We started well and made fewer mistakes afterwards,” commented Alexsandro Garcia Vicente of OK Nis.
Later in the evening, the hosts of Montpellier Castelnau UC needed 69 minutes only to destroy the second Serbian team competing in this bubble, Mladi Radnik Pozarevac 3-0 (25:14, 25:12, 25:20).
“It was a top performance, and a victory is always fun. I am especially happy with the focus we showed throughout the match after taking the first two sets so easily,” commented the star middle blocker of the winners, Nicolas Le Goff.
“We came across a team from Montpellier that was definitely stronger than us. We are still quite happy with our performance in the third set. I wish good luck to the team of Montpellier in the next round!” commented the head coach of Mladi Radnik Pozarevac, Ivica Jevtic.
📌| CEV Cup 2020/21 | 1/8 Finals
🗓| December 15
IBB Polonia London – OK Nis NIS 1-3
Mladi Radnik Pozarevac – Montpellier Castelnau UC 0-3
Zenit St. Petersburg – Hebar Pazardzhik 3-1
VK Dukla Liberec – Stroitel Minsk 3-0
VC Greenyard Maaseik – Spor Toto Ankara 3-0
CV Guaguas Las Palmas – Galatasaray Istanbul 3-1
🗓| December 16
Arcada Galati – Amysoft Lycurgus Groningen 3-2
OK Vojvodina Seme Novi Sad – Dinamo Moscow 0-3
Source and images: CEV