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FIVB World League 2006
Match Description
Bernardo Rezende takes birthday victory against the hosts in a pre-semi final warm-up

Abramov (left) of Russia spikes against Andre Heller and Marcelinho (BRA)

Brazil needed little time to warm up as Andre scored an ace with his first serve to give Brazil its second point. The Canaries took an early lead before Russia replied to draw level at 5-5 and then edge ahead at the first technical time-out. Russia pulled further ahead to a five-point advantage as Brazil were unable to exploit their strong serves. Russia's Pavel Abramov served his team's first ace but Russia then gave Brazil the chance to catch up after two service errors. Andre, however, lost his sering momentum and Russia were five points in front at the second break. A series of imprecise Brazilian spikes was followed by a steal by Abramov to extend the home side's lead to seven points as Bernardo Rezende called a second time-out for his team. Brazil continued to have trouble serving and a certain nervousness showed in their defence. Russia needed only the first of nine possible set points to take the first set 25-15.

There was a more evenly matched start to the second set, with a more organised Brazil taking the edge over the hosts into the first technical time-out with a spike down the middle from Giba. Brazil held on to the lead until an ace from the crowd's favourite Sergey Baranov brought Russia level at 11 all and a spike off his serve gave them the advantage. With a renewed strength in their serve, Brazil forged ahead in the second half of the set and some strong blocking by Samuel gave them a five-point advantage as Rezende brought on Anderson for the closing stages. Brazil then consolidated their lead with an ace by Andre before Zoran Gajic called his team to the bench. Rezende brought on Anderson, who spiked to give Brazil set point, which Russia held off once but gave away on their serve to concede the second set 18-25.

Brazil had trouble making up a three-point deficit in the early stages of the third set and gave away one of their few chances on an Andre Heller service error. The home team kept the pressure on as the 217cm Alexey Kazakov entered the court. A desperate Brazilian defence saw three players lunge to recover the same ball, but the counter-attack by Murilo Endres sailed wide. The towering Kazakov spiked down onto the Brazilian block to take the serve for himself and promptly fire off an ace, leaving Russia eight points clear as Bernardinho called his first time-out. In a relentless attack, Russia took another three points before Rezende called a second time-out in the hope of salvaging something in the set. Alexander Abrosimov spiked to a great cheer from the crowd to take the second set by a wide margin 25-13 for Russia.

The teams remained tied in the fourth set until Semen Poltavsky served an ace that was followed up by a tip-over from Serguei Grankine to take the hosts three points clear - a lead they kept until the second technical time-out. Brazil replied in the late stages of the set to stay in with a chance of forcing the tie-break, but Russia were only three points from victory when Zoran Gajic called his first time-out. A Semen Poltavsky spike gave Russia match ball at 24-22 but Brazil saved twice and came from behind to take the fourth set in style on a Marcelinho ace 26-24 to force the tie-break.

Brazil opened the fifth set with some strong attacks that had the Russian defence in disarray, causing Gajic to call a time-out. As the teams switched, the score stood at 8-4 to Brazil, with Russia's counter-attacks passing wide of the mark. Gustavo handed the play back to Russia with a service error on 13-9 and Russia replied to recoup two points. As Samuel spiked Brazil to match point, Russia replied to hold off before serving out to hand Brazil the victory 15-25, 25-18, 13-25, 26-24, 15-12.