Lodz / Opole, Poland, December 12, 2017 - The home fans in Poland have a reason to be cheerful after the first competition day of the FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship, as both of their favourite teams celebrated victories.
The win for Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle was particularly dramatic as the team managed to come back from two sets down against Iran’s Sarmaye Bank. Skra Belchatow won against China’s Shanghai Golden Age in straight sets, but it was enough for Srecko Lisinac to impress on all counts, but mostly from the serving line with seven aces. The other two European teams, Russia’s Zenit Kazan and Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova, shut out their opponents to complete their continent’s domination in Tuesday’s action.
Pool A in Opole
Two-time Asian champions Sarmaye Bank silenced the 2,800-strong sell-out crowd at Opole Arena as they won the first two sets against Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle, before the reigning Polish champions found the way to turn the game around and open their campaign with a thrilling 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 25-16, 31-29, 17-15) win.
“At first we were surprised. The Iranian team played so well,” Zaksa’s coach Andrea Gardini commented. “I am very happy we came back. My players got more focused and, point by point, we made it.”
The players of Zaksa celebrate in front of a sell-out crowd in Opole
In the second match in Pool A, Italian champions Cucine Lube Civitanova defeated the defending club world champions Sada Cruzeiro from Brazil 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-18) in just 78 minutes of play.
Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov was the biggest point contributor to Lube’s victory
Pool B in Lodz
Zenit Kazan started off their campaign in the best possible way. The Russian powerhouse mastered a 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) victory over Argentina's Personal Bolivar in the opening match of Pool B at the magnificent Atlas Arena in Lodz with an 18-point contribution by Maxim Mikhaylov.
Friendly hug between Javier Weber and Vladimir Alekno after the match
Serbia’s Srecko Lisinac scored seven aces and six kill blocks for a total of 25 points in the winning team’s tally, as Skra Belchatow claimed a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-21) win against China’s Shanghai Golden Age, to please the noisy home crowd in Lodz. The Polish squad’s total from the serving line was an impressive 16 aces.
“We put a lot of pressure in serving, but we made many mistakes, to be honest. Mistakes are a part of the game, so we need to accept the fact and play. Volleyball is about putting the pressure on and always moving forward,” commented Skra’s coach Roberto Piazza after the match.
The players of Skra celebrate their win in Lodz
Matches on Wednesday: