MATCH REPORT – Final Day – Sunday, September 18th
IR Iran is back on top of the world as they win GOLD in the Men’s Sitting Volleyball Competition in Rio!
Gold medal match – Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Iran (Men)
It was the final match for the men’s tournament and IRI and BIH faced each other again as the top two teams in the world. This was the 5th gold medal match that they were contesting in the Paralympics. The reigning Paralympic champions, BIH, looked to defend their title at all costs.
IRI started quickly with a run of points. Libero Ramezan Salehihajikolaei dived to keep IRI in the game and IRI led 8-3. BIH weren’t able to close the gap as IRI led 16-11. Morteza (IRI) spiked from above the block and hit the 2m line regularly – BIH were defenceless. It was a slow catch up for BIH with good hitting and a couple of IRI errors. It was 22-20, before IRI closed the set out confidently 25-21.
BIH regained their composure and came out firing in the 2nd set, with Safet Alibasic (BIH) scoring strong : BIH were up 8-4. Dzevad Hamzic (IRI) aced. Alibasic scored a strategic tip back court and IRI lost two points for reaching over the net to help give BIH the lead 16-11. BIH got set point off a block out from Mirzet Duran and then Adnan Manko won the set for BIH 25-21 with a swipe out off Morteza (IRI).
IRI started the 3rd set with a red card. Manko (BIH) monster blocked and then scored another point to put BIH in the lead 8-7. Alibasic (BIH) super spiked and the teams were level 10 all. Davoud Alipourian blocked twice for IRI to lead at the second technical 16-12. IRI drove ahead with great spikes from Sadegh Bigdeli and Isa Zirahi. An ace from Bigdeli gave IRI set point and Alipourian finished it off 25-18 with a deft 2nd touch.
IRI took the lead comfortably in the 4th set. A dramatic save gave IRI the last point 8-3 at the 1st technical timeout. IRI received a red card for querying a lift call. Alipourian monster blocked and then got a good counter block to help IRI to the lead 16-9. Great defensive pickups from BIH as they saved a number of balls, but there was not much they could do against Morteza (IRI) who spiked down hard among them. IRI raced ahead and BIH frustration resulted in them receiving a red card. A fast spike from Benis Kadric (BIH) scored BIH another point, but it was little consolation as IRI nailed a headshot on match point to win the set 25-15 and the match 3-1.
IRI take the crown back from BIH as Paralympic champions for 2016! It was a convincing win and continues the epic battle between these two nations at the top of the world in competitive Sitting Volleyball.
Morteza Mehrzadselakjani was top scorer for IRI with 28 points. Safet Alibasic top scored for BIH with 16 points. Fastest serve came from Adnan Manko at 68km/h and top blocker for the match was Alipourian (IRI) with 5 blocks.
Final Score BIH vs IRI – 1-3 (21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-15)
Bronze Medal Match – Egypt vs Brazil (Men)
EGY took on BRA for the men’s bronze medal match. BRA hoped the home crowd advantage would support them towards victory and that they would make history as the first BRA men’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic medal winners.
Mohamed Abouelyazeid (EGY) spiked and Souza (BRA) super spiked back as teams traded points. The BRA coach received a yellow card and EGY went on to lead 8-6. Elsayed Moussa (EGY) aced and again de Souza (BRA) returned with a super spike, this time a body shot. BRA blocked well and the teams continued trading until EGY broke free with an ace and spiked to lead 16-12. EGY were winning 21-15 before BRA came back on a 7 point winning streak to lead 22-21. Fans were chanting non-stop for their home team. Two miss-hits from BRA and the teams drew level at 24 all. It was spike for spike until EGY took the set 28-26 off a miss-hit.
These two teams were so evenly matched. Points were traded until BRA came out slightly on top 8-7 at the beginning of the 2nd set. Captain Frederico de Souza (BRA) scored a headshot, Ahmed Soliman (EGY) blocked and de Souza (BRA) scored again. Then Cesar Gomes (BRA) monster blocked and de Souza (BRA) was on a run as he scored the next point to give BRA the lead 16-15. A fantastic save from Rodrigo de Mello kept BRA in the lead. EGY pounced back and again BRA held onto the lead with a monster block from Gomes (BRA). EGY came back from a 2 point set point deficit to draw level 24 all and then pushed BRA point for point to 28 all. It was an epic thriller of a set as each team displayed their best volleyball. Gomes (BRA) finally put the last point away for Brazil to win 31-29.
Hesham Elshwikh (EGY) was on fire as he drove home a number of spikes. It was not enough to prevent BRA reaching the 1st technical timeout first 8-6. BRA kept their lead at 16-14 with more powerful spikes. It was tense as the teams fought with everything to claim the 3rd set. Anderson da Silva (BRA) got a block and EGY lost focus for a few points. Mistakes crept in and then the teams played their best defence of the match to create one of the most spectacular rallies of the tournament. BRA powered home to take the set 25-19.
It was a monster block for Wellington da Anunciacao as BRA got the 4th set started. EGY pipped BRA to the 1st technical timeout 8-7 and pushed ahead 16-12 on BRA hitting errors. BRA drew level 18 all with possibly one of the biggest spikes (Anderson) for Rio 2016. Each team received a red card for arguing and the game continued 21-20. EGY were confident and showed strength as they took point after point to win 25-22.
EGY took the first point of the 5th set after blocking de Souza (BRA) 3 times in a row. De Souza was fed the ball as the go to striker for BRA and he didn’t disappoint as BRA took the lead 5-3 before substitutions were made. Anderson made a series of big spikes, most of which EGY were able to block but a miss-hit from EGY gave BRA the lead 8-7, before teams switched sides. The crowd were thrilled with the action and suspense. The teams were so close throughout the match! Ashraf Abdalla (EGY) nailed two great block-outs, Hesham Elshwikh (EGY) followed with another two massive block outs and the crowd start booing as they sensed BRA might lose. It was 12-9 to BRA. De Souza (BRA) smashed the ball and then EGY came back with two points to obtain a 3 set point advantage. It was a cliff-hanger as BRA took point after point, but they couldn’t quite catch up and EGY sealed the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.
EGY take the bronze medal in this incredibly hard fought match that did both teams proud. This was some of the best volleyball played in the tournament and it resulted in the first medal EGY have won at a Paralympics.
Frederico de Souza (BRA) was by far the highest point scorer for the match with 41 points (39 spikes and 2 blocks). Hesham Elshwikh (EGY) scored 27 points. Top blocker was Mohamed Abouelyazeid for EGY with 6 blocks.
Final Score EGY – BRA 3-2 (28-26, 29-31, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13)
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