Doha, Qatar, November 4, 2009 - Zamalek of Egypt twice rebounded to win an exciting five-set match against Plataneros of Corozal (Puerto Rico) 3-2 (23-25, 25-13, 23-25, 25-14, 21-19), in the second day Pool A match of the 2009 Men’s Club World Championship at the Aspire Zone Indoor Hall in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.
Key factors leading to victory were outstanding performances by Zamalek attacker Mohamed Badawy and setter Ashraf Aboulhassan. Badawy scored 31 points, making him top scorer of the match. Victor Rivera was best scorer for Corozal, notching up 30 points.
Corozal started the match using their centers to attack following the first rally, and benefitted from undisciplined Zamalek blocking to lead 8-3 at the first technical timeout (FTT). Zamalek rearranged their block of Mohamed Seifelnasr and Ahmed Elsheikh, and were able to build up attacks through their wing spikers Mohamed Badawy and Saleh Youssef almost catching up with Corozal but losing the decisive point that gave the set to Corozal 25-23 after a group of spikes from wing spiker Victor Rivera.
Both teams gave a completely different performance in the second set. Zamalek greatly improved their block after the coach made some changes in the rotation and also some changes in the line up, to lead 8-3 at the FTT. The Puerto Rican team could do little to come back against the strong hits from Badawy and Reda Haikal who replaced Mohamed Gabal in the opposite position. Zamalek won the set 25-13.
The Egpytian team were launched into the third set with the same spirit and modified line-up to lead 8-3 at the FTT. High level attacking from Badawy and Ahmed Afifi meant that Zamalek were still leading at the STT, 16-14. Corozal then gained the advantage in the field thanks to efficient spikes by Victor Rivera, while Thomas Mckinney in position four found ways to pass the Zamalek block. Zamalek fought to come back but a consistent Corozal won the set 25-23.
Zamalek rallied early in the fourth set, improving their backline defence to stop the spikes at the back positions bringing them to a 16-7 lead at the STT. Corozal committed several mistakes in reception and also in the use of the Golden Formula rule which allowrd Zamalek to increase its point deficit to 20-9 before winning the set 25-14, taking the match to a tiebreak.
In the decisive set, Zamalek were in front 4-3, when the sharp service of Escalante allowed Corozal to take the lead 8-6 at the court turn. Corozal remained ahead at 10-8, when Zamalek’s efficient attacker, Badway, scored three successive points turning the score around to 11-10. At match point for Zamalek, Mckinney and Rivera again scored critical points for Corozal. Skillful setter Ashraf Aboulhassan then saved 4 match points for Zamalek. The Egyptian team finally won the tiebreak 21-19 and the match 3-2.