Khabarovsk, Russia, June 27, 2009 - Russia didn't make it
easy, but the Bulgarian team won its second match of the 2008 World League with
a 3-1 (31-29, 16-25, 25-23, 25-20) victory over the hosts on Saturday at the
Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk.
The victory improved Bulgaria's record in Pool C to 2-3.
Russia lost its first domestic game in front of 7,000 fans and fell to 3-2.
Bulgarians Matey Kaziyski and Vladimir Nikolov led all
scorers with 19 points. Semen Poltavskiy led Russia with 18 points.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday at the Platinum
Arena for their second match of the weekend.
The Russian team opened up to lead 8-4 at the first
technical timeout and increased it to 16-12 at the second TTO. On the restart
Russian head coach Daniele Bagnoli made a double substitution (opposite player
Maxim Mikhailov instead of Semen Poltavsiy, setter Alexander Butko instead of
Sergey Grankin) but he soon had to sent the starters back as Bulgaria bounced
back and tied the score at 20. However Russia gained two set points but missed
them. The teams were neck and neck for a while until Alexandr Volkov's hitting error handed the set to Bulgaria -
In the second set hosts jumped out to 8:4 but Bulgaria
managed to level at 14. However Russia never trailed in the second set. Alexey Kasakov came from the bench to
help his team to regain the lead with some strong play at the net. Russia had
no troubles any more and ended the set at 24-16.
The third set was a different story as the Russian guys
suddenly seemed very tired. Bulgaria played very well at the reception that
made easy the job for its attackers. The Balcan team took control at the
beginning of the set and went on confidentially to have four set points.
Vladimir Nikolov ended the set with a vicious kill - 25-23.
In the final set Russia was helpless to stop the
Bulgarians taking complete control. Hosts didn't give up but making some
troubles for their opponent at the middle of the set was the only they could
do. Bulgarian block worked perfectly while the Russians failed to stop
Bulgarians hitters Matei Kaziyski, Vladimir Nikolov and Metosi Ananiev. It was
Matei Kaziyski who scored to finish off the last set - 25-20.