Date: 4 April 2019, 01:11
Source: Zenit-Kazan
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Zenit beat Perugia in Italy

Kazan “Zenit” won a tough victory over “Perugia” in the first semifinal of the Champions League.

Starting  lineup. Vladimir Alekno and Lorenzo Bernardi both performed the optimal lineups for the match.

1st set. Incredible Italian fans have met the Kazan team with an extreme noise level, but Zenit players handled with this pressure along with pre-start nervousness. Alexander Butko immediately involved Artem Volvich, who has twice slammed dunk and then the captain has blocked Wilfredo Leon – 7:5 in favor of guest team. Earvin Ngapeth quickly adapted to the amazing atmosphere and shot the opponent with tip and double aces, forcing Perugia to take a time-out with the score 12:15. Italians have powered the serves and pulled back after the ridiculous ace by a substitute Nicholas Hoag – 20:20. However, Ngapeth again made an advantage for Kazan team and attacked technically -22:20. He perfectly played in defense, Matthew Anderson played from block- 25:22.

2nd set. Leon hit out and then faced the triple block of Zenit- 11:11. Kazan players handled with leader of Perugia, but the player of Italian team Aleksandar Atanasijevic got hot. Serbian opposite hitter finished makeup ball after a good serve of the passer Luciano De Cecco, so the home team took the lead for the first time during the match – 15:13. At the end  Atanasijevic made a fault and Zenit made up ground to the minimum, and Ngapeth leveled the score with an ace – 22:22. The Kazan team had a set ball after the block of Alexey Samoylenko to Leon, but the Cuban player twice scored and then Samoylenko faced the block of Fabio Ricci – 24:26.

3rd set. Samoylenko bounced back in the beginning of the third set, alternately blocked Ricci and  Atanasijevic – 4:4. Kazan went into the lead with the serves of captain Butko, who perfectly played in receiving with Leon and hit the ace. A good defense together with the out shots of Leon and Atanasijevic allowed Zenit to lead-13:7. Perugia played back in one positioning – also on the serves of setter and a captain De Cecco. Argentinian made an ace, Ngapeth shot out the court, Mikhailov met the block of Marco Podrascanin – 17:16 in favor of Perugia. Ngapeth awoke the team with his ace, then Anderson shot and also blocked Atanasijevic -23:19. The advantage was lost and the final was quite dramatic. Mikhailov confidently scored with a single block, Atanasijevic struck out- 27:25!
4th  set.

In the beginning of the set Kazan team made a lot of mistakes in receiving and let the opponent to lead -2:7. But Perugia was also not good in receiving – two aces of Mikhailov and  effective glider of Artem Volvich revived the intrigue –9:11. However, Perugia didn’t allowed to come closer : Leon scored on the top block, Filippo Lanza recouped from hands – 17:13. Finally , Lanza became the best scorer of the set and got 8 points.

5th set. At the beginning of tie-brake the Zenit players have missed three times, but due to the attack game did not let the opponent. Ngapeth lit in Zenit and saved the tough balls in defense, blocked Leon (11:11) and after serve to Massimo Colaci got the ball rolling to Anderson- 13:11. Leon reduced the gap to minimum, but Anderson put the end – 15:13.

Statistics. The most efficient player of the match was Leon with 25 scores, In Zenit team 22 scores got Ngapeth. Zenit was twice better for the block scores ( 12:6). Most productive were Samoylenko (4) and Anderson (4).
Notice. The Return match is on - April 10 (Wednesday), 7 pm in Kazan. Tickets available online.

Champions league, semifinal. 1st match
Perugia (Italy) – Zenit Kazan (Russia)   2:3 (22:25, 26:24, 25:27, 25:20, 13:15)
April 3. Perugia, PalaBarton.
Referee: Gerotrodos (Greece) Match time: 2.19 (26+30+33+29+21).
Perugia: Ricci (7), Leon (25), Lanza (13), Atanasijevic (24), De Cecco (1), Podrascanin  (10) – starting players, Colaci (либеро), Seif (0), Hoag (1), Hoogendoorn (0).
Zenit-Kazan: Anderson (20), Volvich (6), Ngapeth (22), Butko (2), Samoylenko (9), Mikhailov (15) – starting playes, Verbov (libero), Surmachevskiy (0).
Scores– 111:111, serve– 4:9, attack – 71:53, block – 6:12, receiving – 34%:42%, faults– 37:30.