Kazan crush Paris as race for Club Worlds ticket continues


Maxim Mikhailov attacks past the block of Roland Gergye as Zenit Kazan overwhelm Paris Volley in the European Champions League.

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 22, 2016 - Defending European champions Zenit Kazan demolished Paris as the battle for the 2017 European Men's Champions League title and a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship continued this week with Round 2 of pool play.

Fresh from claiming the 2016 Russian Cup, Zenit Kazan trampled all over French champions Paris Volley 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-21) before more than 3,250 fans in the capital of Tatarstan, with Maxim Mikhailov scoring 13 points (all on kills from 19 swings for a 68% attacking efficiency) and Cuban-born Wilfredo Leon adding another 11 (incuding 3 aces).

The win sees Kazan retain a perfect record after two matches in this season's edition of the Champions League, They had beaten Turkey's Arkas in straight sets a fortnight ago in Izmir. The competition now takes a break, to resume in the new year with the third leg of pool play.

The other two Russian sides in the competition also scored their second victories this week -both against Turkish opposition. Konstantin Bakun with 19 points led Dinamo Moscow to a 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-22) win in Istanbul over BBSK and Belgorie Belgorod shut out Halkbank Ankara 3-0 (25-14, 30-28, 25-21) at home before 4,200 fans.

Elsewhere in the Champions League this week, the three Italian entrants all emerged victorious to remain on track for tickets to the next round.

Cucine Lube Civitanova outblocked the Czech Republic's Dukla Liberec 12 to 5 for a 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-20) win at home without the services of Osmany Juantorena and with Slovenia's Klemen Cebulj top scoring at 14 points. Dragan Stankovic contributed 7 points, just two days before becoming a father for the third time.

It was a crucial rebound for Lube, after dropping their opening match to German champions Berlin Recycling Volleys two weeks ago.

Italian champions Azimut Modena silenced the 11,000 fans at Atlas Arena in Lodz who saw Poland's PGE Skra Belchatow go down in four sets 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-17, 25-22). Earvin Ngapeth scored 24 points, of which 7 were blocks (as many as the whole of the Belchatow team), to play a decisive role in Modena's win.

And Sir Sicoma Colussi of Perugia wrapped it all up for Italy with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) sweep of Belgium's Knack Roeselare, with Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic scoring 14 points and Ivan Zaytsev another 12.

Visit the website of the European Volleyball Confederation for full results, reports, pictures and stats from this week's action.

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