FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Iran gain upper hand with stunning win over Egypt

Ahmed Afifi and Egypt must now win Sunday's second game in straight sets with a better points ratio

Cairo, Egypt, August 31, 2012 – Iran, ranked 14th in the world, were in impressive form in defeating world No. 13 and hosts Egypt 3-0 (33-31, 25-22, 25-19) in the first of two playoff matches in Cairo to see which team will play Japan for a spot in the 2013 World League.

The straight sets win puts Iran in pole position to advance to the second round of the playoffs just needing to win one set in Sunday’s second match to confirm a date with Japan. It also carries on from an impressive 3-0 win during last year’s World Cup and stretches Iran’s overall record against Egypt to 3-1 having suffered their only defeat at the 2010 World Championships.

Egypt must now win Sunday's second game in straight sets with a better points ratio.

With both teams featuring only minor changes since their last match in Japan last year, Shahram Mahmoudi, who was one not to play in the World Cup encounter, top scored for Iran with 17 points while Mohamed Badawy was the best scorer for Egypt with 11.

The match started well for the hosts as they opened a 6-1 lead in the first set, forcing Iranian coach Julio Velasco to call a timeout but Egypt continued their dominance to reach first technical timeout 8-3. Led by Badawy, Iran took the lead 12-11. Well placed blocks from Iran gave them the lead at the second technical time out 16-12.  Despite committing too many errors in serving Egypt tied the set at 21-21 thanks to the attack from Badawy and the two teams played point –by- point until the visitors closed out the first set 33-31, the first time a set had gone past 25 points in a match between the two countries.

The second set was close from the start. Both sides committed many errors with their defence but Iran arrived to the first technical timeout with one point advantage 8-7. Egyptian big gun Ahmed Salah attacked twice to tie the score 9-9. With Mahmoudi being ably supported by Fargad Ghaemi and Hanzeh Zarini, Iran took advantage of Egypt’s poor defence to lead at the second technical time out 16-12. Egypt used quick attacks to narrow the lead at 17-15 but Iran continued to attack powerfully forcing Egyptian coach Hossameldin Eissawy to call a time out at 21-18 to try and help his team recover but it wasn't enough as Iran took the second set 25-22.

The third set showed again the Iranians' dominance through their fantastic backline defence from libro Farhad Zarif and powerful attacking to reach the first time out easily ahead 8-2. Egypt continued to let mistakes slip into their games in the third set as their serving and attacking suffered so the visitors still advanced at the second technical time out 16-9. Egypt incredibly narrowed the gap to 17-15 thanks to brilliant serving from Abdelatif Ahmed but Zarini's spike gave Iran a crucial four point lead at 23-19 as they moved closer to victory and took the set 25-19.


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