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Zenit is higher class

"Gazprom-Ugra" (Surgut): Ozhiganov - Shakhbanmirzaev, Krsmanovich – Kurbatov, Rodichev – Krasikov, Nagaec

"Zenith" (St. Petersburg): Kovalev – Babkevich, Yakovlev – Kosmin, Voronkov – Sivozhelez, Grebennikov

After a long break, Petar Krsmanovic appeared in the home team with a splint on his arm. He scored the first point for his team in attack, but the visitors took the initiative in the opening thanks to a block on Rajab, 2:5. Krsmanovic organizes a passing ball with a serve, who finishes off Rodichev, Rajab corrects his attack, carries the first tempo strike in defense, 6:6.

The Nagai does not shine in reception, giving a pre-game chance to Babkevich, 8:10. Kosmin's blow doesn't go through, but the block works, 9:11. It's time for video viewings: first Krsmanovic was right, jump ball awarded, then a touch of the block was recorded after Rajab's attack into touch, 11:13. Rudnev comes out to serve and is delayed: double block covers Babkevich's deuce, Rodichev equalizes the score in a protracted rally (13:13), and Vyacheslav’s ace brings the Surgutians forward. Krasikov and Radjab bring two more breaks, 18:15.

Titich comes on instead of Voronkov, Babkevich is filming, to serve, Busato releases Tikhonov and the situation on the court unfolds 180 degrees. First, Babkevich distinguished himself in unusual work, making a pancake at Rajab's discount, then the serve once again took Nagayets by surprise, After a rally, Ozhiganov decided to do everything himself on a low ball and sent it into touch, 18:19.

The Surgut team cling to the game and regain a minimal advantage after softening Babkevich’s attack and Krasikov’s retaliatory discount, 21:20. With this step the teams reach the mark 23:22 and then Zenit’s diagonal kicks in - a confident attack from the second zone and an equally confident ace into the conflict zone between Krasikov and Rodichev, 23:24. It's the turn of Surgut residents to eat: Rajab compares, 25:25, Rodichev takes a risk and serves out. On the next set point, Ozhiganov made a mistake in passing, almost having time to get under the ball, bounced off the block, 25:27.

After an equal first set, the guests ruined the hosts' reception with a variable serve. And in the first set, the St. Petersburg players were better at serving and receiving, but the Surgut team eliminated this gap on the grid. The problem got worse in the second batch., and the attackers stopped helping out. Maxim Kosmin especially actively tormented the receivers. His line ace made the score 1:3, but with a block on it, Rajab seemed to correct the situation, 7:7.

In the middle of the set, Gazprom-Yugra’s problems on Kosmin’s serves became decisive. Rodichev did not beat the block, then Krasikov could not cope with the run into the sixth zone, and after replacing Ozhiganov with Kirillov, the central “Zenith” shot a power glider under the front line - ace. Change of pace again: shortened feed to the “boiler”, for which the hosts are again not ready, 9:15. After this, the Gazprom-Ugra game fell apart completely, but Zenit didn’t let go: Grebennikov held a reception, Babkevich was rampant on the net. With the score 10:19 Alekseev came on instead of Radjab and immediately scored, Zenit responded with a double substitution in the persons of Kobzar and Zheleznyakov. At the end of the day, Tikhonov came out to serve again and stayed late again - ace, Titich's saber attack from a block in the final game, Zheleznyakov puts the point, 12:25.

Third game (like the second one) the nominal central began Rudnev, giving up her place on the court after serving. Slobodyanyuk appeared instead of Krasikov, performed well on the grid. Swing again in the opening: from 4:4 Surgut residents fly to 4:7, stuck in a block, but they come back (7:7), covering in turn Titich in the fourth zone and constructing with Rodichev’s hands an uncatchable ace with a rebound from the rope. Slobodyanyuk wins two out of three in attack (9:9), but Zenit is frankly good in defense: Kovalev picks up Krsmanovic's punch, the Serb's second attempt is covered by Yakovlev's block, 9:11. Guests kick (!) they drag out Rajab's attack and again prescribe the pot to Krsmanovic, 11:14. Rodichev almost puts the ball on the line, but this is already serious, 11:15. The game at times takes on the features of pioneer ball, Grebennikov, wanting to get into the highlights, kicks out of bounds (14:18), Ozhiganov’s reliance on Radjab does not work more consistently – out, block, 14:20. Ozhiganov also runs consistently all over the court, trying to fix poor quality finishing.

Radzhab and Ozhiganov are replaced by Kirillov and Alekseev, and in the end the owners almost organize a chase, and the guests arrive on the strength of the momentum gained and the opponent’s mistakes. Yakovlev shoots into touch after Kovalev's foppish pass on the loose ball (could afford), 18:22. Slobodyanyuk knocks Zenit out of the reception, which is rare, but Sivozhelez removes the emergency ball from experience. Krsmanovic organizes a freeball with a serve to Titić, 20:23, there is one more chance, but Kirillov passes to Alekseev too quickly and low - the block cannot be bypassed, 20:24. The intrigue is dead, without being born. Rodichev's block to Titichu only delays the inevitable, because Kirillov sends the serve into the net, 21:25.

The difference in class between the teams was visible in the game: Zenit has a much larger safety margin, Gazprom-Yugra needed to play a match of their lives to win, which only happened sporadically. There are no complaints about returns, the owners tried, fought, but Zenit showed itself to be a monolithic team, where the physics of Babkevich is added by the experience of Sivozhelez and Titich, two very mobile centers play in the center, and the back line is cemented by Grebennikov. But still, Peter’s main weapon in Surgut was variable serve: minimum marriage, maximum efficiency.

"Gazprom-Ugra" fought as best he could:

Denis Popov, coach of VC Zenit: Everything was very close and for one, and for another team. Somewhere a team game worked for us, replacement somewhere, everything in bits. In terms of motivation and those, and others wanted to win, it's just volleyball: one point decided in the first game, then it became easier for us and the game turned out a little differently. Surgut is always a surprise team and still everything will be decided in St. Petersburg. We are very happy now, that the playoffs have started, the most important part of the season, took a small step here. But everything will still be decided in the second game. It's only begining, there is no leading team this year, everyone can play with everyone. You have a fighting team, so we don't expect an easy ride.

Ivan Yakovlev, captain of VC "Zenith": In the first batch, as in the last match in St. Petersburg, made a lot of mistakes of our own, who didn't let us play volleyball, in which we can. And Surgut took advantage of our mistakes and forced us to fight. I can not tell, that we won easily: you saw the first game yourself, where everything was decided on “more or less”. Now let's think about the next match.

Denys Harkushenko, head coach of the EC "Gazprom-Ugra": Peter played his game very well today, made few mistakes of my own. Judging by the statistics, Rafael Khabibullin tried to turn the tide 12 mistakes, we have only for the first batch 10. This led to this result. The series continues, we will have a second half in St. Petersburg.

Nikita Nagaets, libero EC "Gazprom-Ugra": Failed to receive reception. Let's be honest, Peter didn't have the strongest serve, but, may be, some kind of jitters, too much desire to win, prove to yourself first, that we can win. When else might we have such a chance?? I would like to take this chance and show, what can we play, we know how. Key first game, lost disappointingly. Then we couldn’t return to this direction., and Peter caught his game and put the finishing touches on us. You can play with them and we’ll try to prove it now in St. Petersburg, which is also not born from scratch. hope, that the result will change.



Date Time Championship
21.03.2024 19:00 CR 2023-2024


Gazprom-Yugra (Surgut)2512210
Zenith (St. Petersburg)2725253


g. Surgut / SC "Premier Arena"

Gazprom-Yugra (Surgut)

1 2 3 4 5 S K E FACING B PTS

Zenith (St. Petersburg)

1 2 3 4 5 S K E FACING B PTS