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10/03/2016 23:46
Dinamo KAZAN two sets away from Final Four spot
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Kazan, Russia, March 10, 2016. The first round of the Playoffs 6 clash starring Dinamo KAZAN and Nordmeccanica PIACENZA ended with the gold medallists from the 2014 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League whitewashing their Italian opponent in three straight sets (25-14, 25-23, 25-21). As a result, Dinamo are now only two sets away from securing their qualification for the Final Four scheduled for April 9-10 in Montichiari, Italy.

After Dinamo MOSCOW had suffered a 3-1 loss on Wednesday night at the hands of Fenerbahce Grundig ISTANBUL, it was even more important for Dinamo KAZAN to perform well in order for Russia to stay in the race for a spot in the Final Four of Europe’s elite competition. Having said that, such high-level matches do not require any extra bit of motivation as the two teams knew very well how much was at stake on Thursday night in the capital of Tatarstan.

From the very outset of the match the Russian ladies took such a vigorous pace that Nordmeccanica PIACENZA’s head coach Marco Gaspari used both of his time-outs early on but it was all in vain. Ekaterina Gamova and Elitsa Vasileva’s powerful attacks were too much for the Italian defence to handle so the visitors managed to recollect themselves and put up some resistance only towards the very end of the set.

In the second period, however, the match got a lot closer. With the host team still leading, the game became very competitive so neither of the teams could edge ahead by building just a minor lead of one or two points. The suspense continued up until the very last rallies, leaving Rishat Gilyazutdinov, Dinamo KAZAN head coach, no chance but to go for two straight time-outs to somehow bring his players back into the game and cash the set.

The third set was even more tense and dramatic. The Italians responded by ‘tormenting’ the players of Dinamo with quick attacks to take an early lead. However, Italian-born Antonella Del Core, the real ‘woman of the match’ for Dinamo KAZAN on Thursday night, got things back under control for the home side and she kind of saved the Russian team in the most critical moments to contribute to a clear 3-0 home win for the 2014 CL gold medallists.

“A 3-0 victory is certainly very good for us,” commented the head coach of Dinamo KAZAN, Rishat Gilyazutdinov. “However, one should keep in mind that our opponent is a serious competitor and we know that to play in Italy will be a hell of a challenge. The first set turned out to be an easy walk, perhaps, because this was the first match for PIACENZA in this arena, and you may need some time to adjust to it. But I would like to stress the great performance delivered by my team tonight as I think their level was really high. Tonight I am proud of my team for the kind of game it showed. It was indeed a demonstration of powerful and high-quality Volleyball.”

Marco Gaspari, head coach of Nordmeccanica PIACENZA, said: “Of course I am not satisfied with the whitewash loss. My team can play much better, but we have to understand that our opponent is one of the best teams in Europe. You have to risk more to beat Dinamo KAZAN, which is feasible unless your success rate at spiking stands at 40 percent. But we have one more game in Italy. Anything can happen in Volleyball, and especially in women’s Volleyball.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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