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Lube close in on semis with unbelievable tie-break comeback

 
Yoandy Leal goes for the reception in front of libero Fabio Balaso, as Cucine Lube Civitanova send defending champions Zenit Kazan crashing out of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship.
Plock, Poland, November 27, 2018 - Cucine Lube Civitanova came back from 10-14 down in the tie-break to send defending champions Zenit Kazan crashing out of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship with an amazing 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23, 19-17) win that tonight resounds around the volleyball world.

Powered by 20 points from Tsevtan Sokolov and another 18 by Robertlandy Simon, Lube got their revenge over Kazan in this rematch of last year's final which they had lost in straight sets.

What was looking to be an anticlimactic ending to the seesaw match, when Kazan reached match point with five to spare at 10-14 in the fifth, turned out to keep fans on the edge of their seats as Lube clawed their way back and Kazan produced error after error. The Italian side cancelled the first four match points and then another two at 14-15 and 16-17 before they brought it home.


Robertlandy Simon and Yoandy Leal stop Maxim Mikhaylov as Cucine Lube Civitanova send defending champions Zenit Kazan crashing out of the 2018 FIVB Men's Club World Championship.

The reigning Russian, European and world champions ran away with the first set, but Lube regained control in the second - aided in part by the increased unforced errors of Kazan (including as many as eight from the service line).

The Italian side opened up a two-point lead at 18-20 and widened that to three with an ace by Enrico Cester as he came on off the bench for 19-22. All Kazan could do was claw back to within a point at 22-23, before a long serve by Ngapeth and a cross-court kill by Robertlandy Simon brought Lube back in the game.


Earvin Ngapeth expertly guides the ball past the block of Tsvetan Sokolov.

An injury of Bruno Rezende in the right hand at 5-5 in the third could have been a turning point in the game. But reserve server Stijn D'Hulst kept the pace brilliantly for Lube and in fact Kazan had to fight back from 20-22 and 22-23 down before taking the set on their second set point on a block by Matt Anderson on Tsvetan Sokolov.

Bruno did come back on in the fourth and help keep the score tight before, at 21-21, Lube broke away with a run of three for 21-24. Kazan immediately got the sideout and sub Andrey Surmachevskiy aced on Osmany Juantorena to close in at 23-24, but Sokolov eventually had the last word with a hit down the line for the sideout that forced the tie-break.

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