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Serbia reel in Argentina with win over Portugal

Portugal's block could not hold out the Serbian attack on Sunday
Povoa de Varzim, Portugal, June 26, 2011 – Serbia made their intentions of a Final Round spot clear on Sunday as they saw off Portugal 3-1 (25-14, 25-27, 25-19, 25-22) for their second win of the weekend in Povoa de Varzim in the 2011 FIVB Volleyball World League.

Portugal coach Juan Diaz surprised everyone by leaving Joao Jose and Carlos Teixeira out of the 12 players, replacing them with Marcel Gil and Ivo Casas, respectively, and in the first set he only included one of his usual starting line up, Valdir Sequeira.

Portugal began the first set well but the Serbian team made value of their greater experience and created a gap which was very difficult to overcome. Greater efficacy on the serve and attack – they didn’t grant any points to their opponents -, as their high defense gave them supremacy in the match despite the efforts from the Portuguese spikers well led by Valdir Sequeira. But it wasn’t enough as the visitors picked up the first set.

The second set was quite different. Portugal started well again but this time they were able to maintain their lead until the 20-pts. Two double-blocks from Dragan Stankovic and Sasa Starovic put Serbia ahead but they were the hosts bounced back to draw level and steal the set.

The third set was balanced in the beginning, but slowly Serbia started to gain the lead until they had a seven point advantage. Portugal reacted and got close through a spectacular point from Manuel Silva. But it was too late, as the experienced Serbia ploughed on to take a 2-1 lead.

The fourth set was an intense affair with the home side playing with confidence early on. Losing 10-6, Kolakovic gathered his players, but Rui Santos scored at 11-6 and 13-6 with two aces, clearly stating that Serbia would not have an easy job. But Milos Nikic served strongly and the Serbian block helped them fight back and take the set and the win.

Portugal will travel to Finland while Serbia host Argentina on the final weekend of the Intercontinental Round.


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