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Zenit Kazan advance as FIVB Men’s Club World Champs enter semifinal stage

 
Betim, Brazil, October 29, 2015 - European champions Zenit Kazan from Russia claimed the remaining semifinal spot at FIVB Men’s Club World Championship on Thursday, thanks to a smooth victory over the ruled out Capitanes de Arecibo from Puerto Rico. With the elite four decided, the win of Paykan Tehran from Iran against Argentina’s UPCN San Juan arranged the schedule for some electrifying action on Friday.

The Russian team cruised past the NORCECA one 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-16) hence becoming the fourth and last semifinal team, as well as finishing atop of Pool A, followed by hosts Sada Cruzeiro. As a bonus, Zenit Kazan could save some energy for the upcoming stage, using several players from the bench.

A more satisfied Vladimir Alekno proved after the game that the semifinals were already on his mind. “I know the next stage will be more challenging, so my only concern now is about how will my team play tomorrow.”

Later on, Paykan climbed to Pool B first place after a very close contest against UPCN, winning 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-22). Iranian Amir Ghafour was a key asset for his team with 15 points, supported by middle-blockers Saman Faezi (13) and Nikolay Nikolov, the latter with a tournament-high of six stuff blocks.

“For us, this is a dream already”, smiled Paykan captain Valerio Vermiglio after the game, and he added: “This time we were concentrated from the first point, with the right emotions. They tried to get us nervous when they were under pressure, but we stayed calm. Now we have to face a very good team like Sada, so let’s continue dreaming now.”

On Friday, the semifinal agenda will open with a duel of continental champions between Russia’s Zenit Kazan and Argentina’s UPCN San Juan, at 5:30 PM (local). Right after, local team Sada Cruzeiro will face Iran’s Paykan Tehran to decide the second gold medal contestant, at 8:00 PM (local).

Top Scorer by Day
14 - Farhad Ghaemi of Paykan Tehran v Ahly Sporting Club on October 27
22 - Wilfredo León Venero of Zenit Kazan v Sada Cruzeiro on October 28
17 - Ezequiel Cruz of Capitanes de Arecibo v Zenit Kazan on October 29

Top Scoring Performances
22 - Wilfredo León Venero of Zenit Kazan v Sada Cruzeiro on October 28
17 - Ezequiel Cruz of Capitanes de Arecibo v Zenit Kazan on October 29
15 - Amir Ghafour of Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan on October 29
15 - Todor Aleksiev of UPCN San Juan v Paykan Tehran on October 29

Top Serving Performances
3 - Farhad Ghaemi of Paykan Tehran v Ahly Sporting Club on October 27
3 - Isac Santos of Sada Cruzeiro v Capitanes de Arecibo on October 27
3 - Farhad Ghaemi of Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan on October 29

Top Team Serving Performances
7 - Paykan Tehran v Ahly Sporting Club on October 27
7 - Zenit Kazan v Capitanes de Arecibo on October 29
7 - Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan on October 29

Top Blocking Performances
6 - Nikolay Nikolov of Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan on October 29
3 - Several players

Top Team Blocking Performances
10 - UPCN San Juan v Ahly Sporting Club on October 28
10 - Zenit Kazan v Sada Cruzeiro on October 28
10 - Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan on October 29
7 - Zenit Kazan v Capitanes de Arecibo on October 29
7 - Paykan Tehran v Ahly Sporting Club on October 27
7 - Sada Cruzeiro v Zenit Kazan on October 28

Highest Scoring Sets
25-23 UPCN San Juan v Ahly Sporting Club (1st Set) on October 28
25-22 Paykan Tehran v UPCN San Juan (1st, 2nd and 3rd Set) on October 29

Highest Scoring Matches
177 - Zenit Kazan d Sada Cruzeiro 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 19-25, 25-20) on October 28
141 - Paykan Tehran d UPCN San Juan 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-22) on October 29
135 - UPCN San Juan d Ahly Sporting Club 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-21) on October 28

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