Sada Cruzeiro fail to defend world title against Qatar’s Al-Rayyan
Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 9, 2014 - The FIVB Men’s Club World Championship will have a new champion since Saturday. In the second semifinal match at Belo Horizonte, local team Sada Cruzeiro was defeated by Al-Rayyan 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18) and lost the chance to retain the gold medal.
Al-Rayyan played with a remarkable calm as the game went on, combining three players for the victory: Bulgaria’s Matey Kaziyski led the way with 17 points, followed by Robertlandy Simón (16) and Michael Sánchez Bozhulev (14). For the local team, Wallace De Souza finished with 14 tallies.
The second semifinal began also as a nail-biting match. Leal provided a solid block for Sada Cruzeiro and fellow spiker Filipe Ferraz dodged some Al-Rayyan hands to write down a 7-5 on the board. The distance remained to 13-11, but Al-Rayyan climbed back from the service line, using both Mubarak Dani and Sánchez to a 16-15 lead. Kaziyski enhanced to 18-16 and 21-18, but reserve player Douglas Cordeiro served a vital ace and Leal carried his team ahead to 22-21. Wallace also contributed (23-21) and Cruzeiro kept rolling until Filipe nailed the 25-21.
Al-Rayyan took advantage of a long ball by the home team and stepped to 6-3, and ran away to 11-6 with an ace of Simón, heavily protested by Cruzeiro. Leal managed to score, but Kaziyski pushed his team further (13-7) and Dani blocked at 15-7. The Asians stayed on top until a wide 20-12 and made it look simple towards the end. Cruzeiro resisted and got closer at 23-17, but an error sealed the set for Al-Rayyan by 25-18.
Both teams exchanged mistakes at the first track of the third set, but it was Al-Rayyan the one that improved first: Sánchez launched an ace to establish an 8-5 score. Leal tried to become the man for Cruzeiro again (8-7), but Raphael handled a block to their country’s team and then a local ball went wide to strengthen Al-Rayyan to 12-8. Sánchez and Ali Bairami spiked effectively to 16-12 and the team from Qatar used all attacking fronts until an astonishing smash from Simón at 20-14. Sánchez close a long rally for Al-Rayyan’s 23-17 and, although Wallace enlightened Cruzeiro’s hopes, a long serve gave the Asians the 25-21.
Wallace kept their good shape for the fourth chapter, but Simón made a hole into opposite ground once again and Sánchez blocked for another 8-5 for Al-Rayyan. Sada Cruzeiro attempted a comeback with a block from Filipe (14-10), but it wasn’t enough against a very consistent team. The 5-point gap stayed still to 16-11 and Al-Rayyan did their work in counterattack towards an 18-12. Simón nailed another ace to leave his side just three points away from the win, Sánchez teamed up and he sealed the deal by 25-18.