Bengaluru, Dec 7: Holders Sir Sicoma Perugia of Italy kicked-off their title defence of the men’s Volleyball Club World Championships with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Brazil’s Itambe Minas in their Pool A clash at the Koramangala indoor stadium here on Thursday.
The second Pool A clash was a battle between the powerful spikes of Minas’ Outside hitter Paulo da Silva and Opposite Michael Sanchez and the guile and defensive stability of Perugia with the latter coming on tops 25-18, 26-24, 25-22, in the first-ever Club World Championships being held in India.
Perugia’s victory means that the Italian outfit and Minas, who had defeated Prime Volleyball League champions Ahmedabad Defenders in their opening match, have three points each and should make it to the semi-finals unless the local outfit manages to pull off a miracle and beat the defending champions without dropping a set on Friday.
And the way Perugia outclassed Minas on Thursday, the Defenders will have their task cut out.
In the opening set, Silva and Sanchez scored 10 points among them for Minas but most of their efforts were undone by strong blocking from the Italians, who also came up with delectable drops and short setting from the centre to race ahead from 15-16 to 21-16 and never looked back.
The second set was a much closer affair with Minas holding the lead for the major part of the set. But as the set progressed, Perugia’s star setter Simone Giannelli started creating magic at the net and their outsider hitters Kamil Semeniuk and Oleh Plotnytskyi making the most of the short sets to flummox the opposition blockers.
Plotnytskyi, the 26-year-old Ukrainian, scored a couple of points with drops between the blockers and other Minas players while Giannelli and middle blocker Sebastian Sole continued to frustrate the Brazilians with their quality blocks to finally take a three-point lead at 20-17.
Minas changed tactics with a couple of substitutions and forced the set to go into extra points. But the Italians came up with another quality block on the second set point to march towards victory.
Perugia, who have registered eight wins in their nine SuperLega Credem Banca matches, then just tightened the noose in the third set when they opened up a 10-5 lead and Minas players started making unforced errors under pressure.
The Brazilian outfit threatened a late fightback when they reduced the deficit to 18-17 but Italians did just enough to ensure that there were no last-minute hiccups. Minas saved one of the three match points before Bryan Alves da Silva completely mishit the serve to end their misery after an hour and 18 minutes.