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04/02/2020 19:35
Defending champs Novara on track after Ukraine win
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women

Luxembourg, February 4, 2020. Defending champions Igor Gorgonzola Novara of Italy shut out Ukraine's Khimik Yuzhny and Russia's Lokomotiv Kaliningrad also secured a solid away win in Slovenia over Branik Maribor, as Leg 5 of the 2020 Women's European Champions League opened Tuesday with two matches.

Novara cruised through Yuzhny with a 66-minute 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-12) sweep of local Khimik that keeps the Italian side safely at the top of the standings in Pool C, as they extend their winning streak to three, following their 2nd leg mishap in Stuttgart. The result leaves Khimik winless after five matches at the bottom of the table.

Despite the lack of resistance from the other side of the net, Novara coach Massimo Barbolini stuck with his starting lineup throughout the game, with Jovana Brakocevic Canzian scoring a match high of 13 points. Bulgaria's Elitsa Vasileva, who finished the game with what was practically an ace for match point, and Cristina Chirichella each added 11 points for Novara.

Over in Slovenia, meanwhile, Lokomotiv outplayed Branik 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) and in theory remain in contention for second place in Pool B at the expense of Turkey's four-time European champions VakifBank Istanbul, whom they meet in the last leg of pool play - though it all depends on how VakifBank fare on Wednesday at Siena against Italy's Savino Del Bene Scandicci.

It took four match points for Lokotmotiv to get the deal done after arriving at 24-15 and before Margarita Kurilo sent the last ball crosscourt on the side line - but the gap was just too wide for Branik.

Tatiana Iurinskaia and Ekaterina Orlova were Lokomotiv's best scorers with 13 points each, but the match high belonged to Branik's Maja Kosenina with 16.

There's more action in Leg 5 this week, with five matches on Wednesday and another three on Thursday.

Match by match:

Khimik YUZHNY (UKR) v Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA (ITA) 0-3 (14-25, 14-25, 12-25)

"We achieved a very important victory in this tournament. I'm happy that we stayed concentrated throughout the game. It helped us claim the win. Khimik are a good team but do not have strong opponents in their [domestic] championship and to raise their level they need to play in a stronger competition."

Massimo Barbolini, Igor Gorgonzola Novara head coach

"It was a very important match for us. We needed to win to make the next round and we did it. I can't say that this game was easy for us. We had to stay focused all the time to win."
Cristina Chirichella, Igor Gorgonzola Novara captain

"It was a very important game for us to return to the form that we lost over the break, especially mentally. I think we did it despite the crushing score. It was a worthy match against a worthy opponent."
Dmitry Maryukhnich, Khimik Yuzhny assistant coach

"We wanted to win, we tried our best to win but the level of our opponent was too high for us."
Yuliya Boyko, Khmimik Yuzhny outside hitter

Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR (SLO) v Lokomotiv KALININGRAD Region (RUS) 0-3 (17-25, 21-25, 18-25)

"As expected the match was won by the visiting team who, at the beginning of this year's Champions League, were one of the favourites in our pool. We will now prepare in peace for our last game against Scandicci and, of course, our home championship."
Radovan Gacic, Branik Maribor head coach

"The 3-0 victory is the most important for us. Above all, we followed the tactical instructions we had been given before the game. The chances of advancing to the next round of the Champions League are very small, but we will use these Champions League matches as preparation for our home championship."
Bojana Drca, Lokomotiv Kaliningrad setter

Click here for further information on CEV Champions League Volley 2020.

News nr. 7 of 60
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03/02/2020 11:00:00
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