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Sirianis Mendez of Al Rayyan tries to spike the ball past the defensive block of Trentino Diatec players during the FIVB Club World Championships Pool A match at Aspire Zone, yesterday. Trentino won 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9. PICTURES BY SALIM MATRAMKOT
BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Defending champions Trentino Diatec of Italy yesterday survived a scare against Qatar’s Al Rayyan in their opening match at the FIVB Club World Championships.
Trentino won 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9) after a tough fight at Aspire Dome.
In other matches yesterday, PGE Skra of Poland beat Zamalek of Egypt 3-0 (27-25, 25-19, 28-26) while Sada Cruzeiro began their Pool A campaign with an easy 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-18) victory over Tigres UANL of Mexico.
In the women’s opening match, Lancheras got off to a winning start by thrashing Kenya Prisons 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23.
In front of 1,600 spectators at Aspire Dome, the Italian club claimed an early 4-0 lead in the first set but Qatar’s Al Rayyan fought back.
Al Rayyan led 21-19 at one stage and despite Trentino’s attempts to claim the first set, Al Rayyan drew first blood with a 25-22 scoreline.
The Italian club who has won the title for the last three years found their rhythm and grabbed the second set 25-18 to level the tie.
Nevertheless, Al Rayyan players did not lose their mentality and rallied to take the second set 25-23 under a strong presence of their home fans.
Rodrigo Santanta of Brazil scored the winning set point for the hosts to take the lead in a thrilling Pool A match.
Knowing that defeat in the fourth set would hand victory to Al Rayyan, the Italian club grabbed an early 4-1 lead. Al Rayyan’s coach Mauro Grasso, who was recently hired by the Qatari club, called for a time out. His players responded to his team-talk.
Valentin Brateov, who top scored for Al Rayyan with 20 points, and Rodrigo, helped the Qatar side reach 17-12. Despite the attempts by Al Rayyan to finish the match, the Italian side won the fourth set 25-17 to set up a decider.
With the score tied 2-2, Al Rayyan’s Sirianis Mendez gave his team a 5-3 lead. However Trentino scored three consecutive points to force a time out from Al Rayyan’s coach.
Trentino took a 11-6 lead thanks to Nikolay Uchikov and Osmany Juantorena which edged the defending champions closer to victory.
Spirited Al Rayyan were unable to claw back the deficit, losing the decisive set 15-9.
Also yesterday, PGE Skra of Poland grabbed a thrilling 3-0 (27-25, 25-19, 28-26) win over Zamalek of Egpyt.
The 2009 and 2010 runners-up were made to work hard against die-hard Zamalek in a match that lasted one hour and 25 minutes.
Alesksander Atanasijevic was the highest point scorer for the Polish club whereas Reda Haikal scored an impressive 22 points for the Egyptians.
Despite an 8-6 advantage for their opponents in the first set, Zamalek restricted the lead to 23-21.
With Atanasijevic exhibiting point-scoring form, Zamalek were forced to take a time out in the hope of clinching the first set with the score at 24-all.
However, the Polish club took the first set thanks to Karol Klos and Atanasijevic.
After the Polish club won the second set 25-19, the third set was a thriller.
Overcoming an 8-3 deficit, determined Zamalek took a 16-15 lead thanks to Haikal. Both sides scored points but the Egyptians had a 21-19 lead.
Yet PGE Skra fought back to level the score at 24-all. It was not the first time the scores were tied in the set.
After Mohamed Badaway and Winiarski scored, Yosleyder Cala gave PGE Skra match point in their Pool B match. After missing out on the first attempt, the Polish club secured their win due to an error by Zamalek.
In game three, Sada Cruzeiro crushed Tigres UANL of Mexico. Wallace De Souza top scored for the Brazilian club with 13 points, contributing to 22 assists. Felipe Ferraz and Douglas Cordeiro scored 11 and nine points respectively.
After Sada took an early 5-0 lead in the first set, Tigres battled back to make the score 20-12 in favour to Sada Cruzeiro.
But the Brazilian club, who won the South American Championships in Chile last season, secured the first set with a score of 25-17.
After the Brazilian club clinched the second set 25-13, Tigres put up a spirited display in front of cheering Mexican fans. Sada Cruzeiro grabbed an 8-5 lead but Valdemar Valdes helped his team reach 16-11.
Despite saving one match point, Tigre were unable to win the third set, with Sada winning the third set 25-18 and secure the match.
In the women’s opening match, Lancheras eased past Kenya Prisons, thanks to the efforts of Yarima Rosa who top scored with 18 points.
Five players for Lancheras reached double digits in yesterday’s morning match.
Lancheras, coached by Rafael Olazagasty, led 8-4 in the first set, and Rosa increased her side’s lead to 18-4 when the second time out was called.
The Kenyan club put on a strong display with Lydio Maiyo and Everlyne Makuto cutting the deficit. However, the African champions could not claim the first set, with Lancheras winning 25-19.
After holding a four-point lead early in the set, Maiyo and Diana Khisa, scored the points to level the tie 1-1.
In the third set, Lancheras’ Jessican Jones and Shannon Torregrosa combined and scored the points to help clinch the third set. The African champions were not ready to give victory to their opponents yet, taking advantage of Lancheras errors to make the score 20-22 in the fourth set.
At 23-all, Encarnacion gave Lancheras match-point, and later secured the victory with a scoreline of 25-23.