Incheon, Korea, June 12 – Italy maintained their unbeaten record in the 2011 FIVB World League on Sunday with a dramatic 3-2 (25-15, 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10) win over Korea in Incheon. Unlike Saturday's match, Italy were at their best, especially the powerful attacks and blocking of Christian Savani on the left and Ivan Zaytsev.
Michal Lasko led Italy with 21 points, closely followed by Zaytsev with 19. Jeon Kwang-In had 21 points for Korea and Choi Hong-Suk 18.
In the first set, Italy's clever serving, their powerful attacks and good blocking seized the initiative from the Korean players and they finished off the set with six unanswered points.
At the start of the second set, Korean ace Jeon Kwang-In's serves and Lee Sun-Kyu's effective blocks blunted Italy's counterattack. The Koreans were also better organized and they were two points ahead by the second technical timeout. But Italy were revived by their strong serves and determination, and clinched the second set with a three-point margin.
Italy had a slight advantage at the start of the third set, but Korea came back strongly with good serving and strong defence. Korea edged ahead at 20-19 as Lee continued to provide strong serves and Jeon hit his stride in attack. After taking a three-point lead at 23-20, the Koreans didn't look back and won the set by four points.
The Koreans carried their momentum into the fourth set before Italy dug in to keep things close. But Korea again proved to be the stronger team in the latter stages – they attacked well, blocked well and were well organized – and suddenly it was a 2-2 match.
But Korea were unable to sustain their form in the fifth set and several errors handed the advantage, the set and the match to Italy.
As consolation, Korea held on to second place in Pool D, but they will face another tough challenge next week when they take on Cuba in Gwangju.