Avtodor Saratov beats Zenit St. Petersburg in VTB game of the week

Avtodor Saratov beat Zenit St.Petersburg on the road yesterday (83-74) in a game between the numbers two and three of the VTB League. Saratov is now firmly in second place of the standing with the same score (9-1) as Unics Kazan.

The rivalry between Zenit and Avtodor, which debuted in the VTB United League at the same time in 2014, is not one of the classics. The St. Petersburg team lead in the rivalry history with 15 wins to 4. Out of the last ten games, they have won in 8. In Saratov, Avtodor won only once (on April 1, 2018). The last win of the Saratov team was in December 2018.

Zenit and Avtodor met twice in the playoffs – in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 seasons. In both cases, Zenit confidently passed Avtodor in the first round – 3-0.

Game layout
Zenit came to the Game of the Week after a double round in the Euroleague. The St. Petersburg team stopped a series of losses in the Euroleague. The first one in France: on December 15, Zenit played against ASVEL (71:61), and on December 17 – against Monaco (85:74). In addition, coach Xavier Pascual’s team does well in the VTB league, where they were in third place before yesterday’s game and remain there with a 6-2 score.

Avtodor had a great start this season. Sharing first place in the VTB league with Unics Kazan and also making it to the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup. The last game in that competition, against the London Lions, was canceled this week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Saratov team was well-rested and totally focused on their game against Zenit.

Avtodor is on fire
Avtodor and Zenit are the two teams with the longest winning streaks in the VTB League coming into last night’s game. Saratov has now won seven games in a row, while Zenit’s five-game winning streak stopped yesterday.

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