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BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Zenit Kazan overcame Qatar’s Al Arabi in four sets in their Pool B opener at the FIVB Club World Championships yesterday.
The 2009 and 2010 runners-up won 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 29-31, 25-18) at the Aspire Dome.
In other action yesterday, Sada Cruzeiro’s Wallace De Souza continued his impressive form at the championships by guiding his club to a 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22) win over Al Rayyan.
Italy’s Trentino Diatec crushed Tigres de Nuevo of Mexico in straight sets to register their second victory in Pool A. The defending champions won 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-20).
In the women’s event, Sollys Nestle thrashed Bohai Bank of China 3 -0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-20)
In the first match of the men’s event, the Russian club, cruised to a two-set lead.
Al Arabi, coached by Brazilian Mauro Grasso, put on a determined performance in the third set.
Grasso made two substitutes with the score 23-20 in the hope the tactics would pay off. Unfortunately, Zenit hit back. At 23-all, Zenit’s John Anderson gave the Russian club the lead, but Al Arabi responded bravely to level the score.
At 27-26, Al Arabi’s Mohamed Ibrahim gave his side a set point. After a time-out, the Russian club defended brilliantly, saving two set points.
With points scored by both teams, the Russian club were unable to take advantage of a set point.
Al Arabi showed tremendous courage and came from behind to win three straight points to claim the third set.
Despite Ribeiro Renan’s efforts for Al Arabi, Evgeny Sivozhelez of Zenit kept adding points to his team’s tally. It was not too long before the Russian club grabbed the fourth set to win their first match in this year’s campaign.
Grasso said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We really tried hard to play against one of the best teams with experienced players who played in different Championships. We only had two weeks to prepare the team for this event. I’m proud of my team and we hope to do better in the next matches. We couldn’t have had a better performance. Also, we will try to recover for tomorrow to win against the Polish team,” he said. Meanwhile, Al Rayyan lost their second game in successive days. Having lost the first set 20-25, the hosts took a 12-9 lead in the second set. However, Sada Cruzeiro fought back to 18-all.
In front of a big home crowd, Sirianis Mendez scored the set point for the hosts to level the tie.
With the score at 5-all in the third set, Al Rayyan could not find the cutting edge. De Souza who contributed with 25 points helped Sada Cruzeiro win the third set with a 25-16 scoreline.
Sada Cruziero grabbed the fourth set despite Al Rayyan’s efforts to take the match into a decider.
Elsewhere, Trentino did not allow any break to Tigres de Nuevo in the first two sets.
The defending champions, claimed the first two sets with big margins.
Trentino were too strong and capitalised on several errors by Tigres’ players.
Matey Kaziyski, who scored his third ace of the match earlier, secured the easy win for his team.
In the women’s event, Sheila Castro top-scored with 17 points in Sollys Nestle’s win over Bohai Bank.
Winning the first two sets comprehensively, Thaisa Menezes and two-time Olympic champion Jacqueline Carvalho guided the Brazilian club to victory.