Bengaluru, Dec 7 (PTI) Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds became the first team to book a semifinal berth in the men’s Volleyball Club World Championships despite losing to four-time champions Sada Cruzeiro Volei 2-3 here on Thursday.
Sunbirds, playing in the tournament for the first time, saved four match points in the third set and then forced a decider to assure themselves of one point from their second Pool B match and sealed their last-four berth at the Koramangala Indoor stadium.
Brazilian outfit Sada also stayed in the hunt for a knock-out spot by defeating Sunbirds in their opening clash 25-21, 31-29, 28-30, 22-25, 15-12 and earning two points.
According to the tournament format, a team winning by a margin of 3-2 earns three points, while the losing outfit bags a point.
In Pool B, Sunbirds, now, have four points while Sada will face Turkey’s Halkbank Spor Kulubu in a must-win clash on Friday.
Sada, who have been unbeaten in their five Brazilian Superliga matches so far, looked comfortably placed in the third set, having won the first two, as they opened up a 14-10 advantage with a couple of quality blocks.
But Sunbirds, who had blanked Halkbank in their opening match, were not willing to throw in the towel and levelled the scores at 22-22 with their Russian ‘Opposite’ Dmitriy Muserskiy continuing to find gaps in the Brazilian defence.
They then went on to save four match points before converting their second set point to finally get on the scoreboard.
Earlier, Sunbirds had started the match against Sada with two consecutive service errors in the opening set and though they raised their game thereafter, the Japanese side was always chasing the set.
Source: PTI News