On Tuesday, 5th October, in the Energia hall, another huge moment in the history of British sport took place. IBB Polonia London took on the champions of Belarus: Shakhitor Soligorsk in CEV Champions League. Due to pandemic restrictions and thanks to the support from CEV and an agreement between the two clubs, the two games take place at a neutral venue; Poland. The result of Tuesday’s match was: 2-3 and Thursday’s re-match will determine who will advanced to another round of the competition.
The first set started very well for the London team. They led without losing a point till the result 4-1. It was IBB Polonia London that were the stronger and were 17-12 ahead. The game then entered 25-17 for the host team.
Second set, the Londoners started badly under huge pressure from the Belarus team. Despite fighting well, the visitors took the initiative early on and the English Champions found it hard to score. IBB Polonia made lots of their own errors which gave the win 15:25 to the Belarusan team.
In the third set, both teams played very evenly and scored point for point up to the end. Both teams fought hard to take the lead, but in the end Shakhitor Soligors handled the pressure and won the part 23:25.
The beginning of the fourth set was similar to the previous one. IBB Polonia and Shakhitor Soligors played point by point till the score 9-11 for Belarusian team. After a short lead by the visiting team, IBB Polonia came back to the game and got 6 points in a row to take the lead 17-15 when Matias Banda – London team’s setter – was on the service line. The set ended with the win of IBB Polonia London 25:20.
The visitors took the lead at the beginning of the tie break. IBB Polonia fought but the opponent didn’t break and won the last set 13-15. The final result was: 2-3 (25:17; 15:25; 23:25; 25:20; 13:15).
The MVP was awarded to the number 14 – MARCHENKO Andrei from Shakhitor Soligors.
Despite the scoreline, the standard of play from both teams was very high. The organisation of the event was very professional, thanks to support of IBB Polonia London partnership Club – PGE Skra Bełchatów. The match was played in front of the fans. Moreover, there were lots of supporters in front of TVs.
“The match in Bełchatów was hard and the score is upsetting. Both team are on the similar level and both wanted to win. We lost the game because we lost focus. We didn’t have good reception and our opponent put the pressure on the block which caused some trouble. Still everybody has a chance to advance to the next round so we will do our best in the Thursday game.” – said Ramon Martinez Gion, captain of IBB Polonia London.
“The match was tough but we can be happy with ourselves because we won in the end. We made some mistakes and we know what need to be improved before Thursday. It was nice to play in Poland, in an incredibly famous volleyball venue. We are coming back here in two days and we will do everything to win again and win the 1st round.” – said HRETSKI Yauheni – Shakhitor Soligors.
The second leg of the match between IBB Polonia London and Shakhitor Soligorsk will be played on Thursday (7th October) at 7 PM local time (6 PM UK time). Live broadcast will be available on BT Sport and on CEV channels. The result will determine who will progress to the second round of CEV Champions League matches.