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10 March 2011
Alexandria, Egypt, June 20, 2008- Egypt fought for 108 minutes to breeze past the solid Japan team 3-1 (30-32, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21) in their first match of the second weekend of the intercontinental round of the 2008 World League here at Mubarak Comlex in Alexandria, Egypt on Friday in front of 4000 excited spectators. Egypt improved their win- loss ratio to 2-1 while Japan dropped to 1-2.
After Japan won the first set which was the most exciting, Egypt team led the game using their big guns Ahmed Salah and the captain Hamdy El Safi using the skillful combinations of the European based setter Abdalla Abdel Salam
The match started under big spectator excitement as the Egyptian middle blocker Abdel Latif Ahmed scored the first point through an efficient fast spike from position 3. Japan replied by a strong backline spike from the strong wing spiker Tatsuya Fukuzawa. The match went point by point till 5-5 as the spikers were usually more effective than the blockers in both teams. Abdel Latif took the first block to allow Egypt to lead 6-5, and then Egypt maintained the lead till 8-7 at the first technical timeout (FTT). Japan started to use their spike service of Kunihiro Shimizu and also the strong hits of Fukuzawa to achieve the biggest lead 13-10. Egypt deployed the solid block of Abdel Latif and Mohamed Ali and regained the rhythm till they draw 15-15. Japan used the unstoppable hit of Fukuzawa to come ahead 16-15 at the second technical timeout (STT). The set went into the most exciting part as both teams improved the backline defense and again the draw maintained till 21-21 when the Japanese head coach Ueta asked for a timeout while the Egyptian coach played with the team captain Hamdy El Safi and made some substitutions for the servers. Japan lost the set point 24-23 and Egypt led 25-24 and again lost the set point. Again both teams repeated the situation till the Japanese blocker Shimizu scored the set point 32-30 after a long Marathon.
The second set started with a strong spike from Mohamed Badawy for the host team an then Japan pummeled the Egyptian defense with a group of spike services to lead 5-4. Egypt changed the strategy of the attacks depending on the different combinations led by the setter Abdalla Abdel Salam to lead 7-6 before Japan regained the lead 8-7 at the FTT. Again Japan was better in using the spike and floating service, but Egypt improved the reception and used the fast combinations that ended by a successful spike from the center Mohamed Ali that allowed Egypt to lead 16-15 at the STT. The Japanese right attacker Shimizu and the wing spiker Fukuzawa did a good job in spiking from all net positions, but as Egypt improved their block they maintained their lead 21-20. Japan players committed several spiking and digging mistakes that made Egypt ahead ill they won the set 25-21.
Egypt came ahead in the third set through their disciplined block and proper reception as Japan reception showed temporarily inconsistence as Egypt reached to 8-5 at the FTT. El Safi played a great role with his razor sharp spikes as Egypt continued their leading 10-7 before they committed some reception mistakes that allowed Japan to come near again through the big gun Shimizu and led 14-12. The substitute wing spiker Saleh Fathy played his well known tactical service that allowed Egypt to score 4 successive points and Egypt became ahead 16-14 at the STT. Japan improved their block to come near again but Egypt changed the strategy of their attacks to use the fast and short setting to the centers and succeeded to win the set 25-22.
Japan started the fourth set aggressively to lead 3-0 using the unstable Egyptian reception. Egypt players deployed their block against the Japanese attacks and recovered quickly through the skillful combinations of the setter Abdel Salam and Egypt came ahead 8-6 at the FTT. The Egyptian spikers sliced frequently the Japanese block to lead widely 16-10 at the STT. Egypt extended their lead to 18-11 before the Japanese coach called timeout which was followed by scoring 5 successive points. Egypt rebounded back as Saleh Fathy and Salah played a great role to widen the score to 23-20 before Salah scored the match point 25-21 and Egypt won the match 3-1.
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