Loko defeated the VTB United League champion on a visit!

Thanks to Vladislav Yemchenko, who played the best match of the season in the end, Loko beat Zenit in St. Petersburg - 92:90.

Loko for Zenit is an irritant, if not comparable to CSKA, then it is still one of the most powerful. All three matches of Krasnodar and St. Petersburg this season ended with crushing endings. As a result, anticipating the next infarction action, the 7.5 thousandth box of the Sibur Arena KSC was packed to capacity. Even diagonal volleyball “Zenit”, Honored Master of Sports of the Russian Federation, Olympic silver medalist Viktor Poletaev came to help his teammates. However, the guests did not remain without support – the bachata landing party of 20 people, attracted to the match by the forces of the Loko press service, smoothly and aesthetically “drowned” for the red-greens.

The wards of Alexander Sekulich were taken off the bat. In defense, they built an effective zone, and in attack they drove the ball with such speed that experienced Zenit players only had time to see it off with their eyes and take it out of the basket. 14:6 at the end of the three starting minutes – the debut of the meeting definitely remained for the guests.

But gradually the advantage of the owners not only in experience, but also in size began to affect. After a three-point shot by former Real Madrid leader Trey Tompkins, Zenit took the lead for the first time – 22:21. By the way, the blue-white-blue striker scored 13 points in 7 starting minutes.

The tension was building. After two passes of Krasnodar players in a row, which ended with the falls of attacking players after contact, but not with fouls, the guest bench began to boil with the awakened Vesuvius. As a result, “Loco” on anger, character – and skill, of course – scored 9 unanswered points in a row and achieved maximum leadership, “+8”. 30 points in a quarter is almost the best 10–minute offensive game for “Loco” in the season!

An accurate three–pointer by Anton Kvitkovskikh – and the guests already led by a double-digit margin, 35:24! But, of course, it was too early to throw virtual caps into the air. Zenit “pumped” their three-point anti-aircraft guns to the maximum and promptly reduced the gap to just “-2”.

Andrey Martyuk began to collect rebounds in the Dennis Rodman mode, and Zakhar Vedishchev – to pass under someone else’s ring in the power style of James Harden. A couple of minutes – and the advantage of “Loco” again became thoroughly impressive, 45:33! The blue-white-blues were noticeably nervous and received two trolleybus tickets from the referees almost in a row.

Krasnodar players were very, very good in the first half. The best minutes of the season were given out by Vladislav Yemchenko (4 out of 4 from the game in 7 minutes), Jaylen Barford and Akun-Purcell attacked with a good percentage, in defense the whole team worked as a phantasmagoric hybrid of a bulldog and an expensive Swiss watch.

The time of the third quarter was slipping sand through his fingers – and Loko, unlike many other third quarters this season, was not going to fall asleep and continued to maintain a slight advantage. Zakhar Vedishchev tormented Zenit’s defensive formations with passes, Barford scored from different distances, and Emchenko, Akun-Purcell, Dmitry Uzinsky, Anton Kvitkovskikh, and Alexander Shcherbenev were useful. Yes, even Kirill Yelatontsev and Ivan Paunich gave the team energy from the bench! By the final period, the opponents came with a minimal advantage of the guests – 69:68.

It started with a Tompkins hit – for the first time in a long time, Zenit regained the lead. But right there the clever Yemchenko realized the most difficult three-pointer, and Vedishchev, Horton and Barford drew two cool combinations in a row with hits from under the ring itself – 75:70 in favor of “Loco”.

The hosts, with the frenzied support of the hall, began to implement one three–point shot after another – but the Krasnodar team constantly found a productive answer. A minute and a half before the end, the guests continued to lead – 88:86. And Barford, conducting an excellent match from the same point from which he could bring Loko victory in the previous game, attacked by “+5” – but missed…

Zenit did not miss its chance in the return attack – 88:88 in the last minute. Akun-Purcell demonstrated reinforced nerves from the penalty line – 90:88 48 seconds before the end. The hosts equalized again, and the last Loko attack was traditionally completed by Barford.

But – I found a free Emchenko, and the defender holding the best match of the season did not miss! And then he also turned out to be the first in the fight for selection after a blue-white-blue miss.

As a result – a fantastic victory! The score of Loko’s personal confrontations with the current VTB United League champion this season is 2:2.

Immediately from St. Petersburg, Lokomotiv-Kuban will go to Kazan, where it will meet with UNICS on February 2. The match starts at 19:00.

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