Nagoya, Japan, November 22, 2009 - Poland won their first match of the FIVB Men's World Grand Champions Cup 2009 by beating Iran 3-1 on Sunday. Defeat for Iran guaranteed Japan a medal podium finish for the first time in 32 years at an FIVB event. The Poles came home 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 25-23 on their second match point to improve their win-loss record for the week to 1-3. Iran, who missed four set points in the third set, slipped to 1-3 with one game to go.
Poland made hard work of clinching the first set after Bartosz Kurek had brought up four set points at 24-20 with a left-wing spike. The Poles took two timeouts, at 24-22 and 24-23, before Marcin Mozdzonek blocked Arash Sadeghiany for the crucial point to clinch the set 25-23. Iran had led 8-7 at the first TTO before the European champions pulled it round to 16-14 at the second TTO. Kurek scored eight points in the first set, all spikes, and Jakub Jarosz added five, with four spikes and one block. For Iran, Mohssen Andalib led the attack with four spikes, while middle blocker Mohammad Mousavi had three spikes and one block.
In the second set, Iran led 8-7 at the first TTO and moved forward with a trademark blow from the right by Mohammad Kazem and a classic Mousavi block on his opposite number six, Kurek. Jarosz kept Poland close, before Kazem blazed Iran into the second TTO ahead 16-12. Poland needed a TO at 18-15 as they suffered against the Iranian block,notably by captain Alireza Nadi, and when they returned they suffered against the sharp spiking of Hamzeh Zarini on the left flank. Set point came early, at 24-17, and Iran closed it 25-18 on a serve error for 1-1.
In the third set, Iran led 8-7 at the first TTO after some great work at the net from captain Nadi, who pounded some clean winners through the Polish court. Poland captain Michal Bakiewicz led the reply from his position on the left, and Kurek also found this route productive on the restart. Jarosz pulled off an acrobatic block and followed it with a flowing spike up the right, before Iran took a TO trailing 11-10. Poland led 16-14 at the second TTO, capitalising on their counter-attack following determined defence from libero Piotr Gacek. Iran’s excellent blocking, especially by Mousavi, slowed down the Polish attack and enabled Iran to move ahead in the 20s. Iran then missed four set points, from 24-21 and at 25-24, before Poland took the third set 28-26 on their second set point when Nadi spiked wide. Jarosz and Kurek had produced some sparkling winners to keep Poland in it with the pressure on.
Nadi quickly put the disappointment behind him and led his team well at the start of the fourth set as they went into the first break leading 8-6, the captain having scored on spike, block and serve. Even though Iran continued to struggle to contain Jarosz on Poland’s right, they had enough players to keep the points coming, and Kazem fired them into the second TTO in good shape at 16-13. Mozdzonek and Mousavi exchanged crashing blows at the net through to 20-20, before Jarosz brought up two set points at 24-22. Grzegorz Lomacz was in the right place at the right time to grab the glory – and Poland’s first win, 25-23.