FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Al-Rayyan survive Tunisian scare to stay very close to the semifinals

Matey Kaziyski carried the flag with 16 points for Al-Rayyan's second win in Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 6, 2014 - After trailing for almost all the first set, Al-Rayyan regained its memory and improved to 2-0 at FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 25-21) win over Esperance Tunis that leaves the semifinal berth very close of them.

Matey Kaziyski and Michael Sánchez Bozhulev teamed up well for Al-Rayyan, contributing with 16 and 15 points respectively to the victory, while captain Ali Bahrami entered from the bench to add 5 blocks and a total of 7 points. However, the game’s top scorer was on the other side of the net: Tunisian Hichem Kaabi wrapped up the game with 20 tallies. 

Surprisingly, Esperance Tunis jumped ahead in the first set, taking an 8-6 advantage with several errors from Al-Rayyan. Although Qatar’s team, with some good support of the local crowd, tied at 10 headed by Kaziyski, Esperance remained in top shape and walked to a 16-12 lead with some very good serves of Chokri Jouini. Kaabi became unstoppable for Al-Rayyan and his side progressed to 21-16, but Bairami stood out with two blocks in a row, the Asian team put the scores even (23-23) and Bairami blocked again for the first lead in the entire set. Simón spiked to keep his team ahead and an error gave the set to Al-Rayyan by 28-26.

Al-Rayyan kept the momentum and quickly gained control in the second set, despite the good numbers of Kaabi for Esperance. Kaziyski did well and Sánchez Bozhulev appeared (13-8), but it was Kaabi again, spurred by some serves of Elyes Karamosly, who narrowed the gap to 13-11. While Esperance stayed very close on the board, it was never able to reach Al-Rayyan, who relied on Sánchez, now at full power, to move forward (19-17). The distance continued to grow and Al-Rayyan managed to close the set comfortably by 25-18.

The third chapter passed by almost the same way. Al-Rayyan improved from beginning to end, carried by top scorer Kaziyski and opposite Sánchez, while Kaabi remained as the only weapon in Esperance. That plot reflected on the scores, creating a maximum distance at 20-13, after a solid block from Simón. The Cuban changed his serving and, with floated balls, made it very difficult for Esperance. Nevertheless, the Tunisian side saved three match balls, but Kaziyski finished it off by 25-21.

Both teams will have a day-off on Wednesday, as the only Pool B match scheduled is Trentino v UPCN. An Argentinean victory would also secure the semifinal spot for Al-Rayyan.

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