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FIVB World League 2006
Match Description
Bulgaria head for the final four after a second straight-set victory

Konstantinov (left) of Bulgaria spikes against Vujevic, Bjelica and Grbic (SCG)

Bulgaria were fired up for another victory and were waiting to get back on court early after the first break, eager to secure an advantage after the first points had left the two teams neck and neck. They edged away heading for the second break thanks to an athletic dig by captain Konstantinov and some strong blocking. Bulgaria were looking to close the set early, before Serbia and Montenegro's Goran Vujevic served an ace that set his team up to counter and draw level at 19-19 thanks to a steal by Andrija Geric. The two teams then matched each other point-for-point until Serbia and Montenegro edged one point ahead on a spike by the quick-thinking Vujevic. With the teams locked at 24-24, Bulgaria drew on its reserves to take the two clear points and win the set with a block on Serbia and Montenegro's attack 26-24.

Serbia and Montenegro took an early lead in the second set before Bulgaria replied with some strong blocking and an ace by Matey Kaziyski to move ahead. By the time of the first technical time-out, the teams were even on attack, but Bulgaria showed the greater number of errors. Two consecutive blocks from Serbia and Montenegro took them a point clear before Bulgaria responded and then again moved ahead after a setting error from Vujevic allowed the Bulgarian block to steal a point. The Serbia and Montenegro block began to lose its effectiveness and Bulgaria headed for the bench at the second technical break with a four point advantage after the Balkan side gave away an easy point amidst confusion in the defence. Ljobmir Travica called his second time-out at 20-14 in an attempt to recover his team's deficit and find away around the Bulgarian block. Despite Serbia and Montenegro's best efforts, Bulgaria held on to the lead and raced to set point with a fireball spike from Matey Kaziyski, then took the set 25-20 after a service error by Serbia and Montenegro.

After two sets, Serbia and Montenegro had the edge on paper, with one more point on attacks and less errors overall, but the agile Bulgarian block seemed best suited to deal with the strong attacks. After Bulgaria came out stronger in the third set, Serbia and Montenegro drew level with a series of well-placed spikes into the dead centre of Bulgaria's half. The teams matched each other point-for point in the run-up to the second technical time-out until an uncharacteristic lack of concentration by Bulgaria left the back court open to give Serbia and Montenegro an an easy ace. Ljubomir Travica's side entered the second technical break ahead after a spike hit Bulgaria's libero Teodor Salparov square in the face and bounced into out. Bulgaria drew level on 20-20 after some fine attacks, clearly intent on sealing the victory in three sets. After converting a set point against them into match point in their favour on the back of an outstanding block, Bulgaria sealed the match with a cross-court spike 26-24, 25-20, 26-24.