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FIVB World League 2006
Match Description
Russia overpower Serbia and Montenegro in three sets

Poltavsky (right) of Russia spikes against (from left) Miljkovic, Geric and Boskan of Serbia and Montenegro

Backed by a vocal home crowd, Russia had to fight hard against Pool A winners Serbia and Montenegro, with never more than three points separating the two teams right through to the second technical break. Russia managed to extend their lead to 22-18 thanks to several good spikes by Alexey Kleshov, before Ljubomir Travica called a time-out to reinvigorate his team. As Russia further extended their lead, Travica interrupted the play at set point 24-19 in the hope of salvaging the set, but was unsuccesful as the Russians took the first set 25-20.

Serbia and Montenegro replied in the second set, taking a four point lead at 6-2 after a serve reception error by Russia. However, Russia responded after the first technical time-out by setting up 217cm Alexey Kazakov for some devastating spikes. But Serbia and Montenegro held on to their lead with an ace from Novica Bjelica and a barrage of strong serves by the same up to the second compulsory break, extending their lead to seven points. Russia then made good the difference with a combination of solid blocking and attacking and took the lead at 17-16 on an ace from Kazakov. The teams then swapped points right up to the set point mark at 24-24. It was left to the experienced Sergey Tetyukhin to close out set by spiking through the Serbia and Montenegro block. Russia took the second set 26-24.

Serbia and Montenegro started the third set well and were helped by an unfortunate slip on the court in the Russian defence. Russia's giant Kazakov redressed the balance with another crushing spike. This turned the game around for Russia, who drew level and then took the lead into the first technical time-out and beyond with 5 points in a row before Goran Vujevic came into action on the left side to bring Serbia and Montenegro back into the match and within one point of the hosts.

Russia exdtended again thanks to a solid presence at the net by Kazakov and Semen Poltavsky, who took Russia to the second technical break with a three-point lead. The home team then raced ahead to a seven-point advantage, taking the final set 25-18 to win their first match in the Final Rounds.