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16/03/2020 15:00
All-Russian clash to keep European Cups going
CEV Volleyball Cup 2020 - Men

Luxembourg, March 16, 2020.  While Europe and the rest of the world are trying to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and most sports events on the continent have come to a halt, one match in the CEV European Cups is set to take place this week and keep Volleyball on the go. The first leg of the CEV Volleyball Cup 2020 men’s semifinal between two Russian teams to be played in Siberia will draw the attention of passionate Volleyball fans across Europe.

Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and Zenit Saint Petersburg will cross swords at the SKK Sever in Novosibirsk at 19:00 local time on Thursday, and the game will be serviced by an all-Russian crew of CEV supervisor and referees. It will be interesting to see how CEV Cup’s best receiver so far, Marko Ivovic (35.19% perfect receptions) of Lokomotiv will handle the best two servers of the tournament until now, Zenit’s Oreol Camejo (15 aces) and Gyorgy Grozer (11).

To reach the semifinal stage of Europe’s second-tier club competition, Lokomotiv started off with a dramatic sixteenthfinal victory over France’s Chaumont VB 52 (3-0 at home, 0-3 away and 15-12 in the golden set). Then they went through 3-1 (away) and 3-0 (home) wins over Netherlands’ Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn in the eighthfinals, and two shutouts of Belgium’s Lindemans Aalst in the quarters.

Zenit started their CEV Cup campaign with two straight-set wins over Bulgaria’s Neftochimik 2010 Burgas in the round of 32, and followed that up, again not losing a single set against Montenegro’s OK Budva in the eighthfinals. The quarterfinals were a bit more challenging for the squad from Saint Petersburg, but they still managed to come up with two victories over Germany’s Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Haching – 3-2 away and 3-1 at home – to advance to the semis.

In the two encounters between Lokomotiv and Zenit in the Russian Superliga this season, each team managed to win at home – 3-2 in favour of Zenit in Saint Petersburg in November and 3-1 Lokomotiv’s way in Novosibirsk last month. A few days ago, the team from Novosibirsk finished on top of the regular season standings for the first time in history and earned the right to host the Final Six tournament. Zenit finished in fifth place. In their first play-off match for a spot in the Final Six on Sunday, they managed a comfortable 3-0 victory at Belogorie Belgorod ahead of the re-match at home on March 22.

For more info, go to the CEV Cup 2020 section.

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