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12/02/2015 23:28
Zenit shows superiority over fighting Copra in Piacenza
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Piacenza, Italy, February 12, 2015.  Zenit KAZAN took the maximum from its visit to Italy for the first leg of the Playoffs 12 stage in the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men.  The Russian powerhouse shut out its host Copra Volley PIACENZA by 3:0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) after 77 minutes of play in front of about 1,500 spectators at the Palabanca to gain a comfortable advantage before the return game next week at home.  However, this negative result did not give deserved credit to Copra’s performance.  Although Zenit was the favourite, the home squad from Piacenza gave its best to make at least the first two sets exciting, with Hristo Zlatanov and his teammates putting pressure on the visiting team.

With four points in a row, Copra took a 4-1 lead at the beginning of the match, but by 5-5 it was already gone.  The last time the score was level in the first set was at 10-10.  Zenit’s performance was more precise and its attacks were more efficient, which helped the Russian side dominate through the rest of the set for 25-22, with Maxim Mikhailov scoring the last point.  The second set developed by a similar scenario, only this time the home guys managed to hold up a little longer – through 15-15.  Zenit further improved its fundamentals and ended up closing the set with the same result – 25-22.  Copra put more risk into its serving and spiking in the third set.  While this upped the success rate in offense, the increase in errors was a lot more substantial.  The Russian squad did not miss to take advantage of that and finished it all off at 25-19 with Copra’s attack landing off bounds to close the match.

Maxim Mikhailov was the top scorer of the match with 17 points for Zenit, followed by teammate Wilfredo Leon with 13.  Copra’s captain Hristo Zlatanov was his team’s most prolific player with 11 points.

Hristo Zlatanov, captain of Copra Volley:  “We are very disappointed because we did not manage to take advantage of the situation.  We could have won at least one set.  We will not have such an occasion any more with such a team.  They have underestimated us and we should have taken advantage of it.”

Vladimir Alekno, head coach of Zenit:  “I did not expect Copra to play at this level.  Our team can improve, Matthew Anderson above all.”

Click here for more info, including match statistics.

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