Evandro Guerra scored 16 points in the victory of the Brazilians
Betim, Brazil, December 3, 2019 – Hosts Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei came out on top of the rematch of the 2015 and 2016 finals of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship as the Brazilian side downed Russia’s Zenit Kazan in the teams’ debut in the 2019 edition of the tournament at the Ginasio Poliesportivo Divino Braga, in Betim, Brazil on Tuesday.
Three-time world champions Sada Cruzeiro started the tournament at full pace as they prevailed over the five-time European winners in straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-22) in front of its passionate fan base.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion opposite Evandro Guerra was the main name of Sada Cruzeiro’s victory as the 37-year-old veteran contributed with 16 points in the match. Middle-blocker Isac Santos scored ten while outside hitter Facundo Conte and middle-blocker Otavio Pinto added eight each.
"We always leave everything we have on the court and today we were fantastic," setter Fernando 'Cachopa' Kreling said. "We played really well and we neutralized their best skills. But it’s a long and tough week and more difficult games will be coming our way starting tomorrow, so we need to keep our focus."
Recently-converted outside hitter Maxim Mikahylov and opposite Tsvetan Sokolov led Zenit Kazan’s efforts with 12 and ten points, respectively.
In the opening match of the tournament, Lube Civitanova displayed world-class volleyball to dominate Al-Rayyan as the Italians secured a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-13) victory in just one hour and 16 minutes.
Lube Civitanova started off with a solid win over Al-Rayyan
The Italian triumph was facilitated by opposite Kamil Rychlicki’s stellar performance. The 23-year-old Luxembourger was deadly from the right side of the court and topped all scorers with 13 points, 11 of which were scored in spikes – he also had one in a block and another one at the service line. Outside hitter Yoandy Leal and middle blocker Robertlandy Simon added nine apiece.
“It was definitely a good start, but we cannot get ahead of ourselves,” Rychlicki reflected. “It’s important to win the first match and I think we played at a good level, but it’s just the beginning. I’m happy about the way I played too, it’s good that I could help the team. Al-Rayyan is my former club and I have a lot of friends there, so it added a nice spice to the game.”
Al-Rayyan’s most effective player was Portuguese opposite Marco Ferreira, who notched nine points. Outside hitters Marko Vukasinovic and Marcus Vinicius da Costa scored six each.
The second day of the tournament in the Brazilian city will see Zenit facing Al-Rayyan and Sada Cruzeiro going against Lube Civitanova on Wednesday.