Opole, Poland, December 12, 2017 – For two sets, two-time Asian champions Sarmaye Bank silenced the 2,800-strong sellout partisan crowd at Opole Arena as they led reigning Polish champions ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle 2-0, before the reigning Polish champions found the way to turn the game around and open their 2017 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship with a thrilling five-set win 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 25-16, 31-29, 17-15).
It took a nail-biting fourth set as the Iranian side came from behind and the Poles denied them a total of four match points before capitalising on their own fourth set point to force a tie-break.
And again ZAKSA had to cancel two more match points of Sarmaye Bank in the fifth to bring the game home.
Andrea Gardini, ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle Coach: “Congratulations to both teams. We saw some good serves, defence, some players showed really good blocking skills. At first we were surprised. The Iranian team played so good, there was so much tension, their volleyball was so good. I’m very happy we came back for the third set, my players got more focused and point by point we made it. The level of volleyball was a little bit higher. I’m very happy about the final result, of course, but for the next matches, we cannot allow ourselves start with so much tension. Congratulations to my good friend, Lukasz Zygadlo [Polish setter of Sarmaye Bank] – he improved a lot during his time in Iran, so I congratulate the coach for helping Lukasz in getting so much better.”
Benjamin Toniutti, ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle Captain: “We are really happy that we won the match, but I’m aware that the first two sets were really bad on our part. We were a bit surprised with the technique of our opponent, despite the fact that we watched many of their matches on video. After the first two sets, we started playing better, that’s why, despite everything, I think that the match was a good show. Tomorrow it will be different style, different type of volleyball. I know that as a team we will be fighting and it can be great.”
Mostafa Karkhaneh, Sarmaye Bank Tehran Coach: “I am really happy that the fans and spectators enjoyed the match – it was a great game. We were more concentrated in the first two sets, which we won. The fans of ZAKSA are very, very effective and they played a part in this win. When we won two sets, I said to my players that the other team can become very dangerous, as they have nothing to lose, they can serve with higher risk, thus scoring more points. In the Premier League of Iran we do not have teams like ZAKSA, serving with higher risk, jumping when serving. But we did our best and we congratulate, again, ZAKSA. We hope we will win the next two games. We know it’s volleyball, and in volleyball everything can happen.”
Mehdi Mahdavi, Sarmaye Bank Tehran Captain: “I think everybody should like how this match looked. Congratulations for ZAKSA, who lost the first two sets, but in the end managed to win. I think we deserved to win, but we were simply out of luck. But this is volleyball. Once again, congratulations to the winners.”
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