GT MCWCH2021 LUB TRE-18

Lucarelli will play for gold in front of his family and friends in Betim

Cucine Lube Civitanova and Sada Cruzeiro are set to meet in the gold medal match of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship for a second consecutive time as the finalists of the 2019 edition will meet in this year’s final on Saturday, in Betim, Brazil.

Italians and Brazilians played each other for the world title at the same Ginasio Poliesportivo Divino Braga two years ago, when Lube secured their first and only world title. Sada Cruzeiro won the tournament in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The gold medal match of the tournament will start at 20.30 local time. The bronze medal match, set to begin at 17.00 local time, will also feature a duel between Italians and Brazilians with five-time winners Trentino Itas meeting FUNVIC – Fundação Universitária Vida Cristã.

The all-Italian semifinal between Lube and Trentino was full of turnarounds, especially in the fifth set. After wasting four match points, Lube showed strength at the end to come out on top by the thinnest of margins, winning it 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 21-19 and advancing to the final for a fourth-straight time.

“We’re so happy,” Lube’s outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli, who played for Trentino last season, reacted. “To win a match like this, with all these changes in the score against such a strong opponent, it’s really special. It was really about the details. We wasted some opportunities to end the match but fortunately we were able to take the win. This was an exhausting match and we came to this tournament with quite a few physical issues, so recovering is priority number one now. But we’re in the final and, of course, we want to win it.”

LUB VS. TRE - Match Highlights, 10/12/2021

The match featured an interesting duel between two of the most exciting young scorers in volleyball with Lube’s 20-year-old Marlon Yant producing a match-high 27 points (23 kills, two blocks, two aces) and Trentino’s outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto, also 20, delivering 24 (21 kills, three blocks).

Lucarelli, with 18 points (15 kills, one block, two aces), and middle blocker Robertlandy Simon, with 17 (16 kills, one block) were other productive players for Lube, while Trentino got great performances from outside hitters Daniele Lavia, with 17 (all in kills), and Matey Kaziyski, with 14 (ten kills, three blocks, one ace).

“We knew it would be a really tough match,” Simon analysed. “They were coming from an upset, but they know how to play against us and had beaten us in our first meeting in the Italian League. We struggled in some moments, but our team is made of great players and this was a really important match for us. We gave everything we had and despite the ups and downs, we did what we had to do and won the match.”

GT MCWCH2021 SDC FUN-12

Setter Cachopa celebrates a Sada Cruzeiro point against FUNVIC

The reigning South American champions, Sada Cruzeiro lost their first set in Betim but had a less eventful national semifinal matchup with FUNVIC, taking the Brazilian champions down in four sets (25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 25-16) in front of their fans to remain with a perfect campaign in the tournament.

Rio 2016 Olympic champion opposite Wallace de Souza, with 18 points (15 kills, three blocks), and Cuban outside hitter Miguel Angel Lopez, with 16 (15 kills, one ace) led Sada Cruzeiro’s offence, which also counted on 13 points (ten kills, two blocks, one ace) from outside hitter Rodriguinho Leao.

“We had played them twice before this season, but meeting in a World Championship semifinal is a completely different thing,” middle blocker Isac Santos commented. “We’ve been improving during the tournament and we’re doing a great job in taking advantage of the support of our fans, so we wanted to impose our rhythm since the start of the match. I believe we can play even better and hopefully we can do it in the gold medal match. Being in the final again is amazing.”

FUN VS. SDC - Match Highlights, 10/12/2021

FUNVIC’s top scorers were outside hitter Luciano Yudi, with 14 points (12 kills, two blocks), and opposite Matheus Krauchuk, with 13 (11 kills, one block, one ace).

The final will provide Sada Cruzeiro with an opportunity to get revenge from their defeat of two years ago.

“Both semifinals were long and exhausting, but I’m sure that when the match starts tomorrow there won’t be a lack of energy from either side,” setter Fernando ‘Cachopa’ Kreling added. “We played them in the final two years and it’s still hard for me to digest that loss because I felt we played a fantastic match. I’m glad we have another chance to play them tomorrow and we’ll do our best for a different outcome this time.”

Watch the medal matches in Betim live or on demand. The men's and women's Club World Championships will both be streamed on Volleyball TV.