Doha, Qatar, December 20, 2010 – Doha, Qatar, December 20, 2010 – Defending champions Trentino BetClic beat Asian champions Paykan of Iran this evening to qualify for the final of the 2010 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship and set up a re-match of last year’s deciding game against Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow.
Although the semifinal ended in three sets (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) the Italians did not have it all their own way against Paykan and were forced to come back from six points down in the second set. Osmany Juantorena and Matey Kaziyski were the top scorers in the match with 13 and 12 points respectively, and their contribution in attack made the difference for Trentino as the Italian team killed a total of 38 spikes to 28.
Paykan had made a very good impression in the preliminaries, especially in the opening game against Belchatow, and it was pretty clear that 2009 champions Trentino would not have it easy. The first set went point for point up to 19-19 when the Iranian receivers were unable to control the speed and power of Czech giant Jan Stokr’s serves. That gave captain Kaziyski the easy task of taking out the points at the net, and even though Paykan stayed close the stunning athleticism of the Cuban-born Juantorena ensured that Trentino ran out 25-23 winners.
The atmosphere at the Al-Gharafa sports hall was quite something with the loyal band of Trentino fans, who had travelled some 8,000 kilometres to support their heroes in Qatar, alongside a mix of Iranian and Qatari fans joining together in a show of solidarity between the two countries from opposite banks of the Persian Gulf.
Seyed Mohammad Mousavi scored three aces in a row and another Iranian attack paved the way for an impressive 8-3 lead to Paykan at the first technical timeout of the second set, and as the game resumed after the break Mousavi continued with another winning serve. But after trailing 11-5 Trentino stormed back on the serve of their Brazilian middle-blocker Riad, assisted by the Iranian attackers who hit too long on two occasions. At 11-9 coach Trentino’s Bulgarian coach Radostin Stoytchev made a surprising move by replacing Stokr with his second opposite, countryman Tsvetan Sokolov who immediately scored with his first attack. Kaziyski was well served by setter Raphael to bring Trentino to within a point at 13-12 and they levelled with an ace by Juantorena. After that Juantorena was once again the difference for the Italian team. His jump serve was lethal and a double block by Kaziyski and Sala pocketed a total of five set points for the title-holders who finally took the set 25-19.
In the third set Trentino got the upper hand much sooner with Kaziyski sending out some real missiles from the serving area for a 4-0 lead. The score then moved evenly to 9-5 at which point with Stokr having made a very brief appearance on court to be blocked on the first rally of the set, Stoytchev opted once again for his younger opposite Sokolov who played with great determination and remarkable efficiency. After enjoying a short rest, Kaziyski was back to block an Iranian attack for 16-11 and the Italian victory was finally delivered thanks to an ace by Lukasz Zygadlo.