Iran pull out win over Poland in nail-biter
Osaka, Japan, November 24, 2011 - Iran battled past Poland in tough five-setter (23-25, 28-26, 8-25, 26-24, 15-11) on the first day of second-round action in the 2011 FIVB Men's World Cup at Osaka Central Gym on Thursday. Mehdi Bazargarde sparked Iran with 15 points and was named the most impressive player of the match. Mohammad Mousavi and Hamzeh Zarini both added 12 points. Bartosz Kurek had a match-high 26 points for Poland. Iran improved to 3-1 with the win in a match that was very competitive with the exception of the third set. The defeat was Poland's first after victories over Cuba, Argentina and Serbia.
Poland led 8-6 at the first TTO in a close opening set. A spike by Nadi cut Poland's lead to 9-8. The Poles responded with a nice spike off an option play by Bartman. A spike by Hamzeh Zarini evened the score 11-11. Another block by Nadi took the score to 14-14 and then Mohammad Mousavi scored on a service ace. Poland led 16-15 at the second TTO. A spike by Zarini put Iran up 19-18. Kurek's service ace pushed Poland to a 21-19 advantage. Bazargarde then committed a receiving error. With the score 22-21, Poland took a timeout. Kurek's spike then made it 23-21. Iran made it 24-23 on a spike by Kamalvand, but Poland closed out the set 25-23 on spike by Winiarski. Kurek had seven points in the set.
Bartman ended a fine rally with a spike to put Poland on top 5-1 in the second set. Iran responded with three points before a Bartman spike made it 6-4. Winiarski's spike sent Poland into the first TTO with an 8-7 edge. Nadi's spike put Iran within a point at 11-10 and Kamalvand equalized with a service ace. Bartman can right back with his own service ace. A receiving error by Michal Ruciak tied it 14-14. Zarini's serve into the net gave Iran a 16-15 lead at the second TTO. Kamalvand spiked to make it 19-19. Poland's Piotr Nowakowski spike moved the count to 20-20. Winiarski made it 22-21 with a cross-court spike. Kurek delivered a clutch spike to give Poland set point at 24-23 and Iran called a timeout. Iran came up with a big block for 24-24. Amir Ghafour then served into the net. Poland's second chance for the set ended on a service error. Iran then moved to set point at 26-25 on a spike by Bazargarde, but couldn't capitalize as Kamalvand served into the net. A spike by Fayazi made it 27-26 and Iran took the set 28-26 with a final spike. Alireza Nadi scored five points in the set.
Poland bounced back in the third set by scoring the first four points, prompting Iran to take a timeout. Bazargarde then dug into a spike. Poland was in front 8-3 at the first TTO. A Nowakowski spike boosted Poland to a 12-3 lead. Bazargarde finally halted the Poland run with a spike for 13-4. Poland boasted a 16-5 lead at the second TTO, then rattled off six straight points for 22-16. A dink by Kurek made it 23-7 and the Poles took the set 25-8 on one more spike by Kurek. After the great effort in the second set, the Iran players lacked energy in the third set. Bartman and Winiarski had five points apiece in the set.
Poland moved out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. A service ace by Kurek gave Poland a 7-4 margin. Bartman followed with a spike for 8-4 at the first TTO. Iran stormed out of the TTO with four straight points to level at 8-8 on a spike by Mousavi. Bartman delivered a spike and Mousavi was long on a spike and it was 12-9 for Poland. A Bazargarde spike was ruled out and Poland led 16-11 at the second TTO. Zarini's service ace pulled Iran within 16-13. Leading 17-15, Poland took a timeout. Kurek's service ace gave Poland a 19-15 lead. Iran edged with a point at 20-19 on a blast by Mousavi. An excellent block by Zarini tied it 22-22. Iran then took the lead on a spike by Ghafour. Poland tied it on a block and then a service error gave Iran set point at 24-23. Service errors by both teams gave Iran another set point and this time they seized the set 26-24 on a Ghafour spike.
Kurek began the final set with a spike. A block by Amir Hosseini put Iran in front 3-2. Iran upped its lead to 5-3 and Poland took a timeout. Iran then made it 6-3 on a Zarini spike and clearly had the momentum. Bazargarde uncorked a spike and Iran went into the TTO up 8-4. Another Bazargarde spike made it 9-6. With a 10-8 lead Iran called timeout. A receiving error put Iran within three points of victory at 12-8. Another Bazargarde spike made it 13-8 and Ruciak served into the net to give Iran match point. Iran closed out the dramatic match on a spike by Fayazi.