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Al-Rayyan confirmed in FIVB Men’s Club World Championship semifinals; Cruzeiro fall against Belgorod but move on as well

Belogorie Belgorod blocked Sada Cruzeiro and denied their third win in a row
Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 7, 2014 – FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Brazil doubled the share of thrill and action for its third day. Defending champions Sada Cruzeiro already made it into semifinals despite losing against a powerful side of Belogorie Belgorod, while Qatar’s Al-Rayyan also entered the next round as a consequence of Trentino’s epic victory over UPCN. Matin Varamin from Iran defeated Guaynabo Mets and their hopes are still alive.

After a messy start, European champions improved and displayed their full power to handle Sada Cruzeiro their first defeat of the tournament. The tie-break almost came true in the last game of the day, but Belgorod closed the match on time by 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 33-31) making good use of German opposite György Grozer’s 26 points.

The result wasn’t enough to darken the horizon of Sada Cruzeiro, as the local team already grabbed a semifinal spot due to sets ratio. On the other hand, Belgorod still has to do well against Matin Varamin on Thursday to move on.

Belogorie’s coach Gennady Shipulin was particularly pleased because the team performed according to the plan. “They followed the instructions; we tried to play a lot with the middle-blockers. Even with some ups and downs, I’m happy, because Sada Cruzeiro is a great team”, he said. William Arjona, Cruzeiro’s captain, is already looking for a rematch: “We are ready for a good semifinal and maybe we get to play against Belgorod again in the final.”

Earlier, the first match of the day was one of the tournament’s best so far. Trentino managed to prevail in an actual war, as coach Roberto Serniotti would say after the game, against UPCN by 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 38-36, 22-25, 15-11). However, the biggest winner with that result was Al-Rayyan, which automatically qualified for the semifinals.

The match had three scorers with numbers that topped the charts of the whole tournament: Tsvetan Sokolov led Trentino with 26 points, while Theo Lopes and Bogdan Olteanu gave UPCN 24 and 23 tallies respectively. 

“It’s been a while since we played a game with this level”, added Serniotti, whose team now needs to win against Esperance Tunis, but first depends on what happens between Al-Rayyan and UPCN. About that game, Argentinean coach Fabián Armoa assured: “We respect the great players they have, but we won’t do it on the field.”

As for Matin Varamin, the Asian champions fulfilled the task against Guaynabo Mets from Puerto Rico, getting a 3-0 win (25-18, 25-19, 25-18) that enables them to keep planning their stay in Belo Horizonte. If Matin Varamin achieve a remarkable win over European champions Belogorie Belgorod in three or four sets, the semifinals will come true.

To get there, the Iranian team relied on the 16 points of wing spiker Pourya Fayazi and the 14 nailed by Farhad Piroutpour. Matin Varamin also outlasted Guaynabo in attacking and blocking, and gave away less points by own errors. 

“It felt like they wanted to win more than we did”, expressed Guaynabo coach Javier Gaspar, after what was the final match for his squad. Meanwhile, Daniele Bagnoli acted as proof that Matin Varamin still dream: “A door is open for us. It’s going to be difficult, but with an exceptional result, we will make it.”

For Day 4, some thrilling games are scheduled. At 14:00 (local), UPCN will go for the win needed to enter the semifinals against already qualified Al-Rayyan, and right after, the chances of Trentino will be clear for their game against Esperance Tunis at 17:00. The final game at 20:00 will feature Matin Varamin’s quest for history against Belogorie Belgorod. 

2014 Men's Club World Championship Performances

Top Scoring Performances
26 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
26 - György Grozer of Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (May 7)
24 - Theo Lopes of UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
23 - Bogdan Olteanu of UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
20 - Hichem Kaabi of Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (May 6)

Top Blocking Performances
6 - Emanuele Birarelli of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
5 - Ali Bairami of Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (May 6)
5 - György Grozer of Belogorie Belgorod v Guaynabo Mets (May 6)
4 - Wallace De Souza of Sada Cruzeiro v Guaynabo Mets (May 5)
3 - Michael Sánchez Bozhulev of Al-Rayyan v Trentino (May 5)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
18 - Belogorie Belgorod v Guaynabo Mets (May 6)
16 - Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
13 - UPCN v Trentino (May 7)
12 - Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (May 6)
10 - Sada Cruzeiro v Guaynabo Mets (May 5)

Top Serving Performances
3 - Chokri Jouini of Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (May 6)
3 - Emanuele Birarelli of Trentino v UPCN (May 7)
3 - Maxim Panteleymonenko of Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (May 7)
2 - José Santos Junior of UPCN v Esperance Tunis (May 5)

Top Serving Performances by Team
8- Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (May 7)
7 - Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (May 6)
5 - UPCN v Esperance Tunis (May 5)
5 - Trentino v UPCN (May 7)

Highest Scorers by day
20 - Robertlandy Simón Aties of Al-Rayyan v Trentino (day 1, May 5)
20 - Hichem Kaabi of Esperance Tunis v Al-Rayyan (day 2, May 6)
26 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Trentino v UPCN / György Grozer of Belgorod v Cruzeiro (day 3, May 7)

Highest Set Score
38-36 - Trentino v UPCN (3rd set, May 7)
33-31 - Belogorie Belgorod v Sada Cruzeiro (4th set, May 7)
28-26 - Al-Rayyan v Esperance Tunis (1st set, May 6)
27-25 - UPCN v Esperance Tunis (3rd set, May 5)

Highest Scoring Matches
243 - Trentino def UPCN 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 38-36, 22-25, 15-11) day 3, May 7
198 - Belogorie Belgorod def Sada Cruzeiro 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 33-31) day 3, May 7
177 - Belogorie Belgorod def Guaynabo Mets 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19) day 2, May 6
144 - Al-Rayyan def Trentino 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-22) day 1, May 5
143 - Al-Rayyan def Esperance Tunis 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 25-21) day 2, May 6


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