FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Strong Cuban flavour for Al-Rayyan’s first win over Trentino

Cuban opposite Sánchez Bozhulev was a vital part in Al-Rayyan's victory

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 5, 2014 – In the duel between the two Wild Card of the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, Qatar’s Al-Rayyan pulled out an important 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-22) win over former four-time champion Trentino from Italy.

Cuba’s Robertlandy Simón performed in a superb way to lead Al-Rayyan, with 20 points, while fellow Caribbean Michael Sánchez Bozhulev followed him very close, just one point behind. On the other side of the net, both Tsvetan Sokolov and young talent Filippo Lanza were tied with 15 kills for Trentino.

Both teams started really close, with Sánchez Bozhulev leading his side and Trentino trying to use all attacking fronts. A while later, Al-Rayyan made good use of Simón when he jumped to the front row and was able to create a narrow difference to 18-16, widened to 21-18 with former Trentino player Matey Kaziyski blocking fellow Bulgarian Tsvetan Sokolov. Simón carried Al-Rayyan in the final track and he drilled another ball down the middle to seal the 25-22.

Trentino quickly answered in the second set, combining some solid blocking with Sokolov’s spikes, to force a timeout from Al-Rayyan at 7-4. Sokolov fired an amazing sharp spike and pushed his side to 10-6, but Sánchez kept his good numbers and the difference vanished (10-10). Kaziyski also scored and Sánchez beat a triple block from Trentino to draw a 16-12 score. Al-Rayyan stayed ahead for a long time, but the Italian team finally reacted: Sebastián Solé and Alex Ferreira added some spikes and the Argentinean blocked successfully for a 24-23 lead. However, Cubans Simón and Sánchez were the key for the Asian side to finish it, by 26-24.  

Donald Suxho replaced Jack Sintini for Trentino and the team displayed some renewed energy, to step ahead to an 8-5 score. The match went back to its previous course when Simón reached the service line: the middle-blocker unleashed two powerful serves and placed Al-Rayyan up by one (11-10). Later on, the Cuban damaged once again the Italian reception and his side moved on to 18-16. Kaziyski emulated him and, with Al-Rayyan fourth service point, the score turned into a 21-18. Simón, the man of the day, nailed two consecutive spikes and sealed the 25-22.

On Day 2, Al-Rayyan will go for a semifinals berth against Tunisia’s Esperance. Trentino, meanwhile, won’t go back to the field until Wednesday, when they will clash against UPCN in a rematch of last year’s bronze medal match. 

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