Doha, Qatar, December 19, 2010 – Paykan completed the lineup for the semifinals of the FIVB Men's Club World Championship by overcoming the hosts, Al Arabi Doha, in four sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-27, 25-16) on Sunday.
The Iranian side had four chances to close the game in straight sets but failed to take advantage so instead required a fourth set to make sure of a semifinal meeting with defending champions Trentino BetClic on Monday. The match's top scorer was Paykan's Seyed Mehdi Bazargarde with an impressive haul of 24 points.
With a ticket for the semifinals at stake, this Gulf derby was expected to produce a hard-fought battle and the stands of the Al-Garafa sports hall were largely full, especially with Iranian supporters who never stopped cheering for their favourites. They had plenty to cheer about too as Paykan delivered a strong performance and controlled the opening set which they won 25-15.
The same trend continued in the second set as Paykan further embellished the positive impression they had made in their opening five-set loss against PGE Skra Belchatow and the ensuing easy win over Al Ahly. Al Arabi threatened to get back into the game when they came close to drawing level at the second mandatory stop but Paykan kept their cool and took charge when it mattered, taking the set 25-22.
The third set was closely contested with the Asian champions leading for much of it but missing three match points in a row. They got a fourth one thanks to a net violation by the Qataris but Mohamed Jumah diverted that to make it 25-all. Christian Pampel then produced a block-out to earn a set ball and when the Iranians spiked long, home hopes of a spot in the semifinals were briefly revived. Yet Payman Akbari's Paykan overcame that setback and sailed all the way through the fourth set, winning it 25-16 to secure their progress to the last four.