Doha, Qatar, December 17, 2010 – Paykan beat Al Ahly of Egypt in straight sets (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) on Friday to back up the positive impression left in their narrow opening defeat against PGE Skra Belchatow 24 hours earlier.
Paykan's victory, which underlined the excellent progress made by Iranian Volleyball in the past few years, owed something to the prowess of Seyed Mohamed Mousavi, the game's top scorer with 13 points, though another, arguably greater, factor was the large number of unforced errors (24 to 17) that hindered the efforts of Al Ahly.
After losing their opening games in Pool A, both clubs needed a win from this morning meeting to stay in contention to reach the semifinals from a section where Belchatow are the stand-out favourites. If Paykan had impressed in their opener against the Polish national champions, eventually losing only after a tight tie-break, their start here was not too convincing. It took them some time to find the right momentum but by the second mandatory stop, they were in full command.
Despite the timeouts called by Al Ahly coach Ibrahim Fakhreldin, the Egyptian side were unable to change the course of the first set which Paykan claimed 25-20, to the delight of the small but noisy contingent of fans continuously cheering for the Asian champions with their usual refrain "Iran, Iran".
Al Ahly looked to their one foreign player, Australian setter Shane Alexander, for inspiration and he began mastering the co-ordination with his attackers. The score stayed very close for most of the second set, but Paykan got the decisive break after the Second Technical Timeout (STT) and ultimately closed it with two winning serves at 25-19.
The Iranians were playing good, solid Volleyball and they remained on top at the opening of set three. Alexander tried to spike directly on a second touch but the ball finished up too long, making it 8-4 at the first technical break. Fakhreldin stopped the game once again after Paykan extended the lead to 10-5 and the coach's move paid off as Al-Ahly closed the gap to two points. However, their run did not last; with too many unforced errors hampering the African champions' play, Paykan moved 18-11 in front and the game was quickly approaching the end. Arash Keshavarzi set up match point with a crosscourt and Arash Kamalvand duly sealed the win.