Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 8, 2014 – Another close battle at FIVB Men’s Club World Championship provided UPCN from Argentina a semifinal spot, after they defeated Qatar’s Al-Rayyan in a hard-fought five-setter. Belogorie Belgorod completed the quartet later on with their third win in the same amount of matches, this time against Matin Varamin. Besides, Trentino finished the tournament with a solid win over Esperance Tunis.
Even though Belgorod looked in top shape after defeating Sada Cruzeiro on Wednesday, the European champions still had to face another challenge against the Iranian team, being one point away of the semifinals. Matin Varamin provided some drama after winning the second set, but that was it and Belogorie wrapped up the next set in a convincing fashion, and later the game 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 26-24).
“We played the game at our best”, said captain Taras Khtey about the match, and added: “Maybe we lacked some power to finish the game earlier, but we qualified for the semifinals anyway”. One of the Olympic players on Belgorod also warned: “Now, we will keep fighting. Our job it's not done yet.”
UPCN, meanwhile, had it much harder an already qualified Al-Rayyan. The Argentinean team harvested two sets in a great way, but Al-Rayyan answered and earned the point they needed to secure Pool B top spot. In the fifth and decisive set, UPCN resisted and built the lead in the very end, to succeed 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 18-25, 15-11).
Al-Rayyan’s errors were one of the keys to the result, as Qatar’s team wasted 35 points, including the final ball of the match. That was one of the reasons why it wasn’t enough for them with the 21 points converted by Michael Sánchez and the 20 smashed by Robertlandy Simón. However, UPCN also made some damage, with 17 tallies from Martín Ramos and 6 blocks from fellow middle-blocker Junior Santos.
"It's an honour to be in the semifinals for the second year in a row”, expressed UPCN coach Fabián Armoa after the game. “I have a team made of champions and the guys played with pride, with feeling, vibrating during the game. I'm very happy for that”, he completed.
The result automatically ruled Trentino out of the competition, but the Italian side still put out a solid display in their last game against Esperance Tunis, which was also eliminated. With an amazing performance of Sebastián Solé, with 11 blocks and a total of 21 points, Trentino grabbed a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-19, 25-16).
Emanuele Birarelli was disappointed with the ending of their story, but still found some positive aspects from the game: “Today we played well, we blocked a lot, but we expected to be in the semifinals and we couldn't.”
The first of the two major semifinal clashes will be Belgorod against UPCN, at 17:30 (local). Afterwards, at 20:30, local team Sada Cruzeiro will face Al-Rayyan in another absolutely interesting duel.
2014 Men's Club World Championship Performances
Top Scoring Performances
26 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
26 - György Grozer of Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (May 7)
24 - Theo Lopes of UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
23 - Bogdan Olteanu of UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
21 - Sebastián Solé of Trentino v Esperance Tunis (May 8)
Top Blocking Performances
11 - Sebastián Solé of Trentino v Esperance Tunis (May 8)
6 - Emanuele Birarelli of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
6 - José Santos Junior of UPCN v Al-Rayyan (May 8)
5 - Ali Bairami of Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (May 6)
5 - György Grozer of Belogorie Belgorod v Guaynabo Mets (May 6)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
18 - Belogorie Belgorod v Guaynabo Mets (May 6)
16 - Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
14 - Trentino v Esperance Tunis (May 8)
13 - UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
12 - Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (May 6)
Top Serving Performances
5 - Robertlandy Simón of Al-Rayyan v UPCN (May 8)
4 - Kay Van Dijk of Trentino v Esperance Tunis (May 8)
4 - Dmitriy Muserskiy of Belogorie Belgorod v Matin Varamin (May 8)
3 - Chokri Jouini of Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (May 6)
3 - Emanuele Birarelli of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
Top Serving Performances by Team
9 - Al-Rayyan v UPCN (May 8)
8 - Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (May 7)
8 - Belogorie Belgorod v Matin Varamin (May 8)
7 - Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (May 6)
7 - Trentino v Esperance Tunis (May 8)
Highest Scorers by day
20 - Robertlandy Simón Aties of Al-Rayyan v Trentino (day 1, May 5)
20 - Hichem Kaabi of Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (day 2, May 6)
26 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Trentino v UPCN / György Grozer of Belgorod v Cruzeiro (day 3, May 7)
21 - Michael Sánchez of Al-Rayyan v UPCN / Sebastián Solé of Trentino v Esperance Tunis (day 4, May 8)
Highest Set Score
38-36 - Trentino v UPCN (3rd set, May 7)
33-31 - Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (4th set, May 7)
28-26 - Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (1st set, May 6)
27-25 - UPCN v Esperance Tunis (3rd set, May 5)
26-24 - Belogorie Belgorod v Matin Varamin (4th set, May 8)
Highest Scoring Matches
243 - Trentino def UPCN 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 38-36, 22-25, 15-11) day 3, May 7
200 - UPCN def Al-Rayyan 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 18-25, 15-11) day 4, May 8
198 - Belogorie Belgorod def Sada Cruzeiro 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 33-31) day 3, May 7
183 - Belogorie Belgorod def Matin Varamin 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 26-24) day 4, May 8
177 - Belogorie Belgorod def Guaynabo Mets 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19) day 2, May 6