November 22, 2006, Sendai, Japan — Tunisia secured their second win in Pool D on Wednesday with a 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 victory over winless Kazakhstan and kept their hopes of a second-round spot alive — for a few hours at least.
The result gave them a very good chance of advancing to the second round, but they had to wait on the result between the mighty Russia and South Korea (1-3) later the same day.
Despite still looking for their first win and so already out of the competition, Kazakhstan were working hard in the early stages against Tunisia.
There wasn’t much between the sides, illustrated by the first TTO being reached with just a one-point gap in Tunisia’s favor.
But a spike ruled long from Kazakhstan captain Svyatoslav Miklashevich brought the second technical break with Tunisia leading 16-11 and looking comfortably in charge.
Anton Rubtsov was working well for the Kazakhstanis in the middle of the net as some of his trademark snapped spikes finding their mark, but Tunisia continued to pull away.
Hichem Kaabi was blocking and spiking well, as was Skander Ben Tara, and it was soon 23-16 Tunisia. Ben Tara brought up set point with a smash from the middle and Hosni Karamosly blocked to secure the first bracket, 25-19.
Kazakh were not giving up, though, and moved to the first TTO of the second set with an 8-6 lead, showing some of the form that saw them take a set off Serbia-Montenegro.
It didn’t last for long.
A service ace from Tunisia’s Noureddine Hfaiedh brought things level at 10-10 and they moved ahead for the first time in the set at 12-11 before reaching the second TTO 16-14 ahead.
A huge block from Dmitry Gorbatkov helped Kazakhstan pull level at 17-17, but a Kaabi spike and block moved his team 20-19 in front and the set was Tunisia’s.
Kaabi forced set point when his spike was too strong for the blockers and he popped up again with a dynamite diagonal winner to clinch the set, 25-23.
Tunisia were slow out the gate in the third set but pulled level at 12-all with a block from captain Ghazi Guidara, although it was Kazakhstan that reached the second TTO one-point ahead.
An elementary mistake from Hafaiedh, when he botched a dig when receiving a soft serve, put Kazakhstan 21-19 ahead.
Kirill Konovalov brought up set point with a big spike, but Karamosly blocked two in a row to bring Tunisia’s match point and Hfaiedh put it away with a left-handed swat.