Modena, Italy, October 8, 2010 – Russia advanced to the match for fifth place at the FIVB Men's World Championship following a 3-1 (25-20, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23) victory over Bulgaria on Friday.
The Russians had a 10-6 advantage in aces and also edged Bulgaria in blocks 8-6. The towering Dmitriy Muserskiy finished with 19 points for Russia including six aces and three blocks, while Maxim Mikhaylov also contributed 19 tallies with three blocks. Yury Berezhko added 13 point. Bulgaria's Vladimir Nikolov and Matey Kaziyski scored 21 and 20 points respectively with Nikolov producing four service winners.
Both Russia and Bulgaria began the match with their best starting six. Daniele Bagnoli elected to go with Sergey Grankin as setter, Mikhaylov as opposite, Taras Khtey and Berezhko as spikers, Muserskiy and Alexander Volkov as middle blockers, and Valery Komarov as libero. In Silvano Prandi's Bulgaria selection Andrey Zhekov was setter, Vladimir Nikolov opposite, Kaziyski and Todor Aleksiev spikers, Nikolay Nikolov and Viktor Yosifov middle blockers, and Teodor Salparov libero.
Bulgaria were 8-6 in front at the First Technical Timeout of the opening set but Russia turned things round to lead 12-10 thanks to Muserskiy and went on stretch their advantage. Both teams made serving errors but Russia were more efficient in attack and closed up the set 25-20 with a powerful spike by Volkov.
In the second set, Russia had a good start and led 8-4 but Vlado Nikolov's inspirational serves allowed Bulgaria to tie the score (13-13). Prandi's men then took the lead at 16-14 on Kaziyski's block, prompting Bagnoli to replace his opposite Mikhaylov with Semen Poltavskiy. Bulgaria moved closer to the set when Kaziysky scored with two devastating serves for a 24-22 lead, but Muserskiy replied with three straight aces and Russia prevailed 26-24.
In the third set Yosifov's serves put Russia in difficulty and Kaziysky attacked with strength and precision to help Bulgaria establish an 8-4 lead. Prandi sent on the 18-year-old spiker Nikolay Penchev and Bulgaria stayed out in front at 16-13 and 19-15. Muserskiy's serving was proving near unstoppable and his two consecutive aces drew Russia level at 19-19 but he was not the only one – Bulgaria captain Vlado Nikolov closed with two aces in a row as his side won 25-20.
A Kaziyski ace opened the fourth set for a determined-looking Bulgaria. Bagnoli sent on Evgeny Sivozhelez for Khtey and Russia kept responding to every Bulgarian point scored in what was an increasingly hard-fought contest. Grankin was consistently feeding middle blocker Muserskiy who attacked with no mercy. Mikhaylov's spike from the second line gave Russia the lead at 21-19 and although Yosifov's serve tied up the score at 21-21, Berezhko finished off the set for Russia with a sharp attack from the fourth position to make it 25-23.