Away wins give favourites advantage in European Champions League


Zhu Ting of VakifBank Istanbul tries to get past the Volero Zurich block of Ekaterina Orlova and Kenia Carcaces in European Champions League action in Zurich Thursday night.

Lausanne, Switzerland, March 23, 2017 - Dinamo Moscow, Fenerbahce Istanbul and VakifBank Istanbul all scored first-leg away wins this week that give them an advantage in the race for a berth in the Final Four of the 2017 Women's European Champions League.

In the Istanbul derby Fenerbahce outlasted the reigning world champions Eczacibasi VitrA 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12) inside the Burhan Felek, with Korea's Kim Yeon-Koung and Brazil's Natalia Pereira both scoring 22 points each. Tijana Boskovic with 24 points for Eczacibasi was top scorer of the game - but neither that nor Tatiana Koshelava's 21 proved enough as the home side conceded 29 points from unforced errors.

In Zurich Volero took VakifBank by surprise Thursday night bagging the first set and putting up a brave fight for a good part of the second, but once the Turkish side pulled together and minimised their errors there was no stopping them - and Volero crumbled 3-1 (15-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21).

Lonneke Sloetjes of The Netherlands scored 26 points to lead VakifBank, who were highly more efficient in attacking. Olesia Rykhliuk of the Ukraine was Volero's best scorer with 24.

The only solid win of the week came for Dinamo, who crushed Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-13) at the Palapanini. Thirteen points each from Nataliya Goncharova and the Dominican Repblic's Bethania de la Cruz plus 11 each from Yana Shcherban and Irina Fetisova did the trick for Dinamo and countered the 17 points for Modena of Serbia's Jovana Brakocevic.

The return legs are in a fortnight. The three qualifying teams join hosts Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Final Four, 22-23 April in Treviso.

The winner of the Champions League get a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship, 10-14 May in Kobe. Hisamitsu Springs as hosts, plus Asian champions NEC Red Rockets Kawasaki and South American champions Rexona Sesc Rio de Janeiro are already qualified.

Full reports, statistics, pictures and more on the
European Volleyball Confederation webiste.

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