Champions League: Zenit Kazan is looking up to defend the title

‘’Nothing can ever happen twice’’ – a famous Polish poetess, Wislawa Szymborska, has written and Dinamo Moscow became convinced of the rightness of this statement in playoffs’ derby duels facing Zenit Kazan. In the previous round, Dinamo eliminated Trentino Volley despite gaining the victory only in the ‘golden set’ after easy failure in the regular game while the first game scored in tie-break. This time, the story was not repeated, hence, Kazan showed its potential off and easily overcame Moscow. As the result, a team manager of Zenit can already book airlines tickets to Omsk for Final Four tournament in order to defend Club European Championship.

 

Dinamo Moscow – Zenit Kazan 0 – 3 (23-25, 18-25, 22-25)

First match: 0 – 3

Dinamo: Grankin, Markin, Shcherbinin, Kruglov, Kurek, Krivets, Bragin (L) and Shchadilov, Stepanyan

Zenit: Vermiglio, Sivozhelez, Abrosimov, Mikhaylov, Anderson, Lee, Obmochaev (L) and Apalikov

 

The start of the game was very close with Zenit and Dinamo leading with the slimmest margin by the first and second technical time-out respectively. Though Zenit attempted to accelerate the pace, Dinamo responded well and could even the score. As his guys were trailing 18:20 after a block by US American Matthew Anderson, Dinamo head coach Yuri Cherednik asked for a break and his side was close to even the score (22:23) before a mistake by Bartosz Kurek in reception contributed two set balls for the guests from Tatarstan. Alexander Markin could score the next rally but the second opportunity was cashed by Zenit superstar Maxim Mikhaylov with an attack from the back row (23-25).

Zenit then imposed its rule right by the early phases of the second set similarly to what the Tatars had done last week in Kazan. They went up 6:2 on good serving by Alexander Abrosimov before a time-out asked by Cherednik and the serves by Alexander Krivets could help Dinamo reduce the gap (6:8). Though the Muscovites were trying hard to re-open the fate of the game, they made a way too many mistakes and Zenit could move to the front by five points. Kazan did never look back and quite significantly it was a mistake by Dinamo wing spiker Leonid Shchadilov that sealed the 18-25 for Zenit.  

Dinamo went for a make-or-break bout in set 3 and eventually caught a good start (7:4) as Leonid Shchadilov had found the right consistency after replacing Kurek. However, Dinamo could not keep that lead as Zenit fired back powered by good serving contributed by Evgeny Sivozhelez. As the score stood at 18 all, Zenit claimed the next three points helped by three errors of the Muscovites and even two late time-outs asked by Cherednik could not avoid a straight-set defeat, the second in about one week (22-25).  

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