Leal leads Lube’s win over former team Sada Cruzeiro


Yoandy Leal scored 14 points against his former team Sada Cruzeiro

Betim, Brazil, December 4, 2019 – Cucine Lube Civitanova are the only undefeated team after the second day of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship as the Italians secured their second straight-set victory against hosts Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei at the Ginasio Poliesportivo Divino Braga, in Betim, Brazil on Wednesday.

Lube Civitanova’s 3-0 (25-23, 30-28, 25-16) win was helped by a tremendous performance by outside hitter Yoandy Leal, who scored 14 points against the team he played for between 2012 and 2018 and with which he won three Club World Championship titles.

Besides the 31-year-old Cuban-born Brazilian international, who played against Sada Cruzeiro for the first time since his departure from the club, other players who had productive nights in Betim were middle blocker Mateusz Bieniek (16) and outside hitter Osmany Juantorena (10).

“We were trailing for most of the first two sets, but we had the patience to turn things around,” setter Bruno Rezende commented. “Sada Cruzeiro are a great team and their serving game is very strong. We controlled it well and didn’t let them score a lot of points from the service line, which was great. We made some mistakes and I made some bad decisions, but we managed to overcome these moments and that’s the most important thing. The third set was a lot better." 

For Sada Cruzeiro, opposite Evandro Guerra and Canadian outside hitter Gordon Perrin led the scorers with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Voronkov came off the bench to lead Zenit Kazan's scoring efforts

In the first match of the day, Russia’s Zenit Kazan bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to Sada Cruzeiro with a come-from-behind 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21) victory over Qatar’s Al-Rayyan Sports Club. 

Zenit’s head coach Alexey Verbov used 12 of his 14 players in the match and outside hitters Fedor Voronkov and Andrey Surmachevskiy, who both entered the match in the third set, ended the match as the team’s top scorers with 11 points each. Maxim Mikhaylov scored eight points and was the most effective starter for the Russians.

Despite the comeback, the team’s performance didn’t please Verbov.

“We wanted to see some progress from our first match, but we didn’t,” he reflected. “Some players made a step forward, but others didn’t. It’s weird, they don’t look like the team that was playing well in the Russian Championship just a few days ago. I look at their eyes and it’s like they’re empty. I want to see some fire, some life there, but I still can’t. Right now, I’d say we’re playing at 50 percent of our capacity at best.”

For Al-Rayyan, on the other side, the trio of opposite Marco Ferreira (15) and outside hitters Marcos Vinicius de Souza (15) and Marko Vukasinovic (14) combined for 44 of the team’s 89 points against the Russians.

After the conclusion of the second match day, Lube Civitanova lead the standings with two victories while Zenit Kazan and Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei have one each and Al-Rayyan are yet to win. On Thursday, the last day of the preliminary round in Betim, the Italians will play the Russians in the first match while the Brazilians will face the Qataris in the second.