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Alarm over as Zenit, Dinamo advance to Russia final

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 10, 2017 - After all the drama and near-misses of pool play, favourites Zenit Kazan and Dinamo Moscow found easier paths to the final of the men's 2017 Russian Superleague with relatively comfortable sweeps of their opponents in Wednesday evening's semifinals.

Zenit and Dinamo had finished one-and-two in the Regular Season, but struggled to make the semifinals after some stunning results in pool play of the Final Six over the previous days.

Defending champions Zenit Kazan can now go for a record ninth title - and fourth in a row - after eliminating Belogorie Belgorod 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-18).



Once again Maxim Mikhailov was top scorer of the game with 20 points, as Wilfredo Leon contributed another 15. No Belogorie player reached double digits, with Dmitriy Muserskiy the side's best scorer at five, as the losers conceded seven aces to none and gave away a full set's-worth of points on unforced errors.

A little later Dinamo Moscow knocked out Lokomotiv Novosibirsk 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-23) and will go after their third title since the introduction of the Russia League in 1992 and first since 2008 and the emergence of Zenit.



Fought largely at the net, Dinamo just prevailed in the very tight first two sets, before breaking away to lead 10-3 and 16-9 in the third. Lokomotiv rallied to close in and even tie the score at 23-23, but two succesive quick attacks by Dmitriy Shcherbinin from the middle and then by sub Igor Filippov brought the game home for the hosts.

The final in Moscow will be on Thursday at 19:45 local time (16:45 GMT), following the bronze medal match at 16:00 (13:00 GMT).

Earlier in Moscow on Wednesday Falel Novy Urengoy edged Gazprom-Yugra Surgut 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 16-25, 25-22) for fifth place and a ticket to the 2017-18 European Challenge Cup.

Aleksandr Kimerov with 21 points including four aces and 14/21 for 67% in attacking led Fakel, with Dmitri Volkov adding 16 including another 4 aces and 12/16 for 75% in attack. Aleksandr Chefranov was best scorer of Yugra with 19 points.

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