Zenit-Kazan: without losses in the new year
The team of Kazan sweeps to 3-0 win over Dinamo of Krasnodar in an away competition in the 9th round of Super League. Realnoe Vremya tells in detail about the trip of Vladimir Alekno's wards to the Kuban River banks.
Pre-match state of affairs
The teams had different moods before the combat in Krasnodar. The reigning champions easily solved all problems at with Kuzbass of Kemerovo. Nevertheless, the team afforded itself to ease off after two sets, what led to a tense end in the final set. This fact was noted the by head coach of Zenit who, however, 'in general, was satisfied with the match of his volleyball players'.
Dinamo players, in turn, were defeated by one of the outsiders of this season. At home, NOVA from Novokuybyshevsk with difficulty won against the collective from Krasnodar. It should be mentioned that after the match the senior coach of the team Vladimir Khromenko stated Dinamo was gradually turning into a team that won only at home. Is this true? This game was to be the answer to the question.
The outstanding event happened in the squad of Zenit on the eve of the meeting. Alexander Gutsalyuk, the middle blocker of Zenit, celebrated his 28th birthday. It is noteworthy that the player is a pupil of the team of Krasnodar. Alexander spent in Dinamo the first four years of his professional career. In the past Volleyball Club World Championship, he was awarded 'Best blocker'. This is why the team probably felt an additional motivation before the game.
Equal start and unequal end
The start of the combat was equal. Supported by the local fans, Dinamo players did not let the Kazan players be carried out by the game. The 'block' of Zenit started working by the technical time out. 2 active measures near the net by Andrey Aschev and Igor Kobzar sent the teams to rest with the score 8-5. The pause worked to the advantage of the hosts. After some actions, the hosts managed to liquidize the difference in the score.
A long combination in the middle of the set was the turning point, which resulted in an excellent opposite shot by Wilfredo Leon. Maxim Mikhailov was the author of the first ace. And there was a three-point difference in the score again before the technical time out. If after the first one Shlyapnikov's players managed to catch up the champions, this time the time out played into the Kazan players' hands. 4 lost balls made Krasnodar take a fully-fledged time out. The serves of yesterday's birthday boy gave a rough ride for the southerners over and over again. Gutsaluyk's serve made the difference in the score reach 6 points. The opponent's attempts to run after Zenit were not successful. And Vladimir Alekno's players confidently ended the first set with a victory 25-18.
Drooped spectators, Poltavsky's appearance and absence of intrigue
The fast start of Zenit made Dinamo take time out after 5 combinations of the second set. The sad 7-1 calmed the local audience down. If at the beginning of the match the fans supported the local favourites in unison, by the middle of the second set, the cameraman showed the drooped Krasnodar people's sad faces more often. Unfortunately, while we were trying to find something cheerful in the eyes of the local audience, the score board marked the double advantage of the team from Kazan. Before the technical time out the score board was 16:8.
The ex-player of the national team of Russia Semyon Poltavsky's appearance roused the interest in the match. But the appearance of the two-time champion of the country was not a problem for Kazan. It was noticeable the leader of the main team of the country in the old days was not in a very good state. Poltavsky could score only one point for his team for the given time. But his point was the 13th and the last in the second set. So, 25-13. Zenit practically has the twofold advantage in the second set.
Heart-stopping end. Well, nothing new
Playing mainly at the end of the matches in this season, Alexey Spiridonov, the favourite of the audience of Kazan, appeared in the middle of the third set. However, Kazan did not manage to end easily the game with a victory. Traditionally relaxed in the endgame, Zenit started to allow Dinamo to approach closer. And the score board indicated 17-15 after Alexey Verbov's mistake in reception.
Having felt the nervousness of the Kazan players, Sergey Shlyapnikov took time out. There was a two-point difference. Vladimir Alekno had to take time out above the roar of the stands after when they had only one point more compared to their rivals. For 30 seconds the mentor did not utter a word. The players understood everything. They just needed to tie up loose ends and reach the natural final the strongest teams of the Old World was going towards during the whole game.
A tense end in the third set relieved the overall impression of the match. Having demonstrated their level and mastery, the Kazan players managed to press and take the heat out of the situation. Dinamo was defeated on its native court by Zenit for the first time in the season. So, Zenit proved its ambitions of the champion and won the 8th victory in the season and the second one in the new year without losing any match. But Zenit could not avoid a nervous end like in the previous match. Now the collective from Krasnodar is situated in the middle of the overall ranking.
On 24 January, Zenit will host the next match in the Russian Championship against Yugra-Samotlor from Nizhnevartovsk. Before that, on 21 January, Vladimir Alekno's wards will play against the local Budvansa Rivejera in Montenegro in Champions League.
Andrey Aschev captain of Zenit-Kazan VC
It was a good and difficult match. We were prepared for a complicated game and knew that Dinamo plays well at home. We were going all out to win. We examined the rival quite well and knew the actions of each player on court. In the third set, we probably relaxed a bit but kept him at a distance. The advantage was not big.
Dinamo (Krasnodar) – Zenit-Kazan – 0-3 (18-25, 13-25, 21-25)
16 January. Krasnodar. Palace of Sports Olymp
Dinamo Kr: Zhloba-C (1), Melnik (5), Afinogenov (2), Kalandadze (8), Tsentalovich (10), Kozlov (5) – the first six, Zelenkov (libero), Bestuzhev (6), Ismailov, Poltavsky (2).
Zenit-Kazan: Anderson (10), Leon (17), Aschev-C (4), Kobzar (6), Gutsalyuk (2), Mikhailov (16) – the first six, Verbov (libero), Kuleshov (1), Spiridonov (1).