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Cuba beat Brazil 3-2 to clinch Pool B

Brazil's Rodrigao attacks Cuba's Camejo in their Pool B clash on Monday evening
Verona, Italy, September 27, 2010 - The best match of Pool B drew a noisy crowd of more than 7,000 fans to Verona's PalaOlimpia and they saw Cuba overcome Brazil after 129 minutes to steal a tight 3-2 (34-32, 18-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) win to top the group. Cuba now travel to Milan to take on Serbia and Mexico, while Brazil will play Poland and Bulgaria in Ancona.

The beginning of the match was marked by an ace from Murilo. Cuba captain Robertlandy Simon responded immediately with an attack down the middle and the sides were level at 5-5 before Wilfredo Leon secured Cuba an 8-6 lead by the First Technical Timeout (FTT). Simon led Cuba into the Second Technical Timeout (STT)with a 16-13 advantage after a strong attack and powerful ace, and Brazi's Lucas then hit the ball out of bounds before Leon served another ace to make it 19-15. After the defending champions had dug deep to draw even at 20 apiece, Simon and Lucas levelled the scores again at 23-23. Cuba squandered their first set-point but Simon's block eventually closed out the set for Cuba 34-32.

The beginning of the second set was evenly balanced with excellent shots from Joandry Leal for Cuba and Lucas for Brazil. Brazil moved ahead thanks to a Rodrigão block and by the FTT the South Americans were leading 6-8. Double aces from Murilo took the score to 10-6 for Brazil before Leon narrowed the deficit at 14-12. By the STT Brazil led 16-12 and they did not relinquish their advantage. With Cuba struggling in attack, Dante widened the gap at 22-16 after a merciless attack. When the Cubans then failed with their serve, Brazil drew even.

Cuba attacked Brazil from the off in the fourth, gaining a 4-2 lead. Leon deflected Rodrigão's block to increase their score to 6-4 and by the FTT Cuba led 8-5. Brazil were looking increasingly frustrated and the Cubans duly stretched the lead to 12-6. It was 16-13 at the STT but Bernardinho Rezende's charges then found their spark and, after drawing level, marched on to gain the upper hand for the first time in the match.

The fourth set saw Cuba focused on the block but failing with their serving. Yet they still moved into an 8-6 lead at the FTT with several straight points from the young Leon and Fernando Hernandez. Leon's outside spike put Brazil back in front before Hernandez and Leal drove Cuba into a 16-14 lead at the STT. With the scores at 21-19 Brazil's captain, Giba, joined the match. Vissotto dragged the South Americans to within one point at 21-20 but Cuba kept their noses in front and after Leal took the score at 23-21, a defensive error from Dante gave them the set.

At the tie-break Brazil led 3-1 but Cuba quickly drew even at 3-3. Brazil called for a timeout at 4-3 but it was Cuba who held an 8-6 advantage at the court-change. Giba's first point of the match and Rodrigão’s block levelled the scores at 8-8 but Cuba moved ahead again at 10-8. An ace from Giba restored parity once more but Leon and Simon then put Orlando Samuel's men 13-11 ahead with Leon then launching a scintillating attack to give Cuba the win at 15-12.

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Contact:
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
Mobile. +39 334 914 1332
Email: press@fivb.org

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