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BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Trentino Diatec of Italy held off Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro in a thrilling five-set match to top Pool A at the FIVB Club World Championships yesterday.
The defending champions won 3-2 (25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 19-25, 21-19) in front of 390 spectators at the Aspire Dome.
Trentino will now face the second-placed team in Pool B in tomorrow’s semi-final.
Elsewhere, in the women’s event, Rabita Baku of Azerbaijan claimed a place in the semi-finals, beating Bohai Bank in four sets.
Rabita, the defending champions won 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 18-25, 25-21) to eliminate the Asian champions.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Al Rayyan ended their campaign with a straight-set victory over Tigres UANL of Mexico. The hosts won 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-18) in the final match yesterday.
The Italian club led 8-4 in the first set when the first time-out was called. But Sada Cruzeiro’s Wallace De Souza who starred in his club’s victory over Al Rayyan, reduced the deficit with two aces. Points from Jan Stokr and Osmany Juantorena helped Trentino increase their tally to 16-12.
The two players were dominant providing the winners for Trentino.
At 24-20, De Souza added two points, but three-time champions Trentino claimed the first set 25-23 thanks to Stokr’s winner.
De Souza scored a point for Sada to lead at 14-13 in the second set, but served too long to level the score at 14-all. Trailing 22-20, Douglas Cordeiro added a point courtesy of a spike and Juantorena’s error allowed Sada to tie the score at 22-all.
After Stokr added another point to his team’s tally, Trentino’s Emanuele Birarelli gifted Sada to make the score 23-all.
Matey Kaziyski gave Trentino set-point but Sada battled back after Stokr served long to level the score. Yoandy Leal claimed the second set for Sada.
Having lost the third set, Sada cruised to a 5-0 lead in the fourth. De Souza’s fifth and sixth aces were among the attacking points scored as the Brazilian club led 14-5.
Trentino added 10 points but were unable to cope with Sada’s attacking abilities with the Brazilian club in the lead at 20-15.
Sada’s Yadier Sanchez gave his side set-point at 24-18. After failing to take advantage on their first attempt, Trentino’s Fillipo Lanza netted his serve to hand Sada the fourth set.
In the deciding set, Trentino who were playing in their second five-set match this campaign took a 3-1 lead.
Yet, a determined Sada who were inspired by De Souza rallied back to tie the score at six-all. Both teams scored points in one of several tied-scores in the set. De Souza, Stokr and Juanorenta continued to score the points for their respective teams in a thrilling set.
Resoloute Sada battled to save match points but when Stokr gave Trentino to claim the set, the Brazilian club could not prevent Matteo Burgsthaler scoring the winner.
Elsewhere, Rabita Baku made a tremendous start in the first set with Sanja Starovic providing good attacks to give her side a five-point lead at 16-11. Bohai Bank’s Zhang Ziaoting kept her side in contention with some points but Rabita wrapped up the set 25-20. Rabita continued their dominant display in the second set leading 16-10 when the time-out session was called. The Chinese club gradually gained momentum with Chein Liyi and Li Ying scoring points for the Asian champions. Leading 23-20, Foluke Akinradewo gave Rabita a set-point which they later claimed after Chen Liyi netted her serve.
Bohai Bank fought back to claim the third set, despite Rabita taking a 12-10 lead.
Starovic was in awesome form as her side won the match when Chen Liyi missed her spiking attempt in the fourth set.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan had no hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals having lost their previous two games. Yet the Qatari club dominated the first set with David Lee and Sirianis Mendez contributing with points as the hosts drew first blood.
Tigres had no answer to Al Rayyan’s attack who easily won the second set 25-17.
The hosts wrapped up the match in the third set winning 25-18. THE PENINSULA