Austrian champions fight bravely but Zenit ultimately wins in four sets
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Klagenfurt, Austria, December 3, 2013. On a night where more than 2,000 fans had come together to support Austria’s champions Posojilnica AICH/DOB, the local rookies could once more take one set from Russia’s giant Zenit KAZAN as they had done some weeks ago in Tatarstan. Posojilnica can be very proud of their performance even though in the end they lost 1:3 (25-20, 22-25, 13-25, and 20.25) with Zenit KAZAN claiming their third victory in the competition after losing in the opening round to Italy’s Lube Banca Marche MACERATA.
The start of the game was the best the home audience could ask for as the local guys moved up 7:3; their excellent performance continued also later on (12:6) and even though Zenit KAZAN was able to gradually find their rhythm, the Austrians were still leading by five points at the second technical time-out (16:11). Zenit attempted a late comeback but could not succeed in doing this as AICH/DOB won the opening set 25-20.
After a couple of mistakes on both sides of the net, the game continued with a neck-to-neck race and the score remained very close also halfway through the second set (11:12). In the end Zenit players showed their formidable skills and experience to win the key points and tie the score in sets (22-25).
Both teams started out very strong in the third set but Zenit got a slim margin by the first technical time-out (6:8). The Russians steadily improved their block and that paved the way for their 8:16 lead; though the Austrian champions tried to get back on track with three substitutions, it did not work and Zenit comfortably won the third set (13-25).
Zenit stretched that momentum to the early phases of the fourth set (4:8) and even though the Russian giant set the pace of the game for most of the time, Posojilnica was able to fight their way back and make it 14:17. Zenit showed their determination to finish it in four sets to take three points from this game and they eventually did so (20-25). The Austrian heroes delivered a superb performance but in the end Zenit deservedly won the game.
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