After an unsuccessful trip to the easternmost point of the PARI Super League, Gazprom-Yugra went to the westernmost point - Minsk. This is where Shakhtar plays its home matches., whose hall in Soligorsk does not meet the requirements of the league.
Belaruskali for Belarus is like Gazprom for Russia, and Soligorsk in this sense is somewhat reminiscent of Surgut. Local Shakhtar is the winner of the last seven national championships. For the first time this season, the Surgut team faced him at the Platonov Memorial in St. Petersburg and lost. Then there was a defeat in the first round of the preliminary stage of the Russian Cup in Kemerovo and a victory at home in the second round, which, but, because of the game won by the Soligorsk team, she gave them a ticket to the playoffs.
Shakhtar have already managed to make a splash in the Super League, having won three home victories over Kuzbass, "Ural" and "Yenisei", and also giving a fight to the Kazan Zenit and almost beating the St. Petersburg Zenit in a tiebreaker. But the main thing is the content of the Belarusian team’s game. This is fast and tenacious volleyball at a very high quality level..
The Russians are discovering finishers Andrei Marchenko and Maxim Bogatko, creative setter Alexey Kurash, Cuban center David Fiel, reacquainted with Alexander Safonov in a diagonal, his colleague Pavel Avdochenko, who played the season for Gazprom-Yugra, setter Roman Egorov and center Ivan Kozitsyn, experiencing another youth. The Russians actually revived their careers at Shakhtar: Egorov has been playing in Kazakhstan for the last couple of years, Safonov was gathering dust in the Israeli Maccabi, Kozitsyn was not in the starting lineup of last year's Neftyanik from Orenburg. Now they are important elements of the system, built by head coach Viktor Beksa.
Last season, a trip to Minsk was a cakewalk for Gazprom-Yugra, but now it’s a completely different matter and a different opponent. Probably, I won't be mistaken, if I tell you, that Shakhtar look like favorites. what, of course, does not cancel our chances of success, but for this you need to give your best one hundred and twenty percent. Shakhtar will not give anything away, points to be chewed out - by playing together, mood, reasonable risk, fighting for every ball. G, of course, we need to reanimate the attack from the fourth zone.
Shakhtar are a very serious opponent, but we believe in our guys.