Men's Club World Championship 2022 - News


Lopez led Sada Cruzeiro against Vôlei Renata with 15 points

Defending champions Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei started their campaign at the 2022 Men’s Club World Champs on the right foot as the four-time world champions swept fellow Brazilians Vôlei Renata in their first Pool A match in Betim, Brazil, on Wednesday.

A third Brazilian team competing in the event, Itambé Minas also had a positive start in the tournament after they topped Iran’s Paykan Club in four sets at the Divino Braga Stadium in Pool B.

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Sada Cruzeiro and Minas, who will play Italians Sir Safety Susa Perugia and Trentino Itas respectively on Friday, could secure their spots in the semifinals on Thursday, depending on a combination of results on the second day of the event.

Playing in front of their home fans, Sada Cruzeiro took a strong first step in their world title defence with their three-set (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) victory over Vôlei Renata. The teams had played each other in the Brazilian Superliga ten days ago, when Sada Cruzeiro also won in straight sets.

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The Most Valuable Player of last year’s Club World Championship, Sada Cruzeiro's Cuban outside hitter Miguel Angel Lopez led the winners in points with 15 (13 kills, one block, one ace). Team captain and Rio 2016 Olympic champion opposite Wallace de Souza tallied 14 (13 kills, one ace). A new signing for the 2022-2023 club season, veteran middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp added another 11 with six kills, four blocks and one ace.

“A big part of our gameplan tonight was to serve well and we did that,” Wallace reflected. “We made some mistakes during the match, but Vôlei Renata have a good team and created problems for us as well. We knew that starting with a win would help us a lot in terms of advancing to the semifinals and this match gives us a lot of confidence, but we have a really tough match against Perugia coming up and we want to play well.”

Two members of the Brazilian national team that took bronze at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Felipe Roque and Adriano Xavier led Vôlei Renata’s scoring efforts. The 25-year-old opposite chipped in 13 points (nine kills, two blocks, two aces), while the 20-year-old outside hitter contributed seven (all in kills).


Minas' players celebrate a point during their comeback against Paykan

In the opening match of the tournament, Minas came back from a first-set loss to top Paykan in four (22-25, 27-25, 27-25, 25-18) and claim their first victory. The Belo Horizonte team are returning to the Club World Championship for the first time since 2016, when they made their first appearance.

A 2010 world champion, Minas' veteran opposite Leandro Vissotto led all scorers with 21 points (17 kills, two blocks, two aces), while middle blocker Matheus ‘Pinta’ Bispo added another 16 (12 kills, four blocks). Cuban Luis Elian came off the bench and also reached double digits, scoring ten points (nine kills, one ace), the same mark obtained by fellow outside hitter Henrique Honorato, who produced six kills, two blocks and two aces.

“Most of our players are competing at the Club World Championship for the first time, so we started a little nervous,” Vissotto commented. “I think only William (Arjona, setter) and I had been at this tournament before and we tried to keep our teammates calm, but it was also the first match and it always brings some extra pressure. But we found our game during the match and ended it in a good rhythm. We earned our place at the Club World Championship and we want to enjoy the experience, but we’ll also try to do our best and hopefully challenge the top teams in the world, starting with Trentino, who will be a tough opponent on Friday.”

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Iranian national team opposite and Volleyball Nations League sensation Amin Esmaeilnezhad also had a strong performance for Paykan, leaving the court with 20 points (17 kills, three blocks). Outside hitters Purya Fayazi, who tallied ten (all in kills), and Armin Afshin, who added eight (six kills, two blocks), came next

The second day of the tournament will feature the debut of the two Italian teams that will compete for the world title in Betim. Last year’s bronze medallists Trentino will face Paykan at 18:00 local time (21:00 GMT) in Pool B while Perugia will play against Vôlei Renata three hours later in Pool A. Iranians and Brazilians will need to keep their chances of making it to the semifinals alive.