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World League 2004 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

Serbia & Montenegro beat Bulgaria 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-20) - duration 1:13
18-Jul, start time: 16:07, end time: 17:20 - Attendance: 7'800
City: Roma; Hall : Palalottomatica
Bronze for Serbia and Montenegro in Balkan battle
Olympic champions Serbia and Montenegro started slowly but warmed up to a hard fought straight sets win over their Balkan neighbours Bulgaria to claim the bronze medal in the 2004 World League.

The silver medalists from last year weren't quite at their efficient best but in the end Serbia and Montenegro proved too experienced and well-organized for Bulgaria in the battle between two sides who had yet to win a match in the Final Round.

In the opening set, Serbia and Montenegro looked to be feeling the affects of yesterday's epic semifinal against Brazil, won by the defending champions in straight sets, as Bulgaria opened an early 5-2 lead.

Bulgaria took advantage of the lack of cohesion on defence of their opponents and soon held a 15-11 lead. Matey Kaziyski was particularly efficient as he spiked his way to six points, to end the set as the highest points scorer.

But the class of Serbia and Montenegro soon became prevalent and the likes of Ivan Miljkovic, the second highest scorer of the Final Round prior to the match, and Vladimir Grbic began to hit their straps. Just like a cat toying with its prey, the "Blue team" waited until Bulgaria lead 23-21 before making their move. Four points in succession and the favourites were one set up.

By this stage Serbia and Montenegro were in top gear and never relinquished their early second set lead. Bulgaria looked to become intimidated by the situation with a wonderfully supportive crowd becoming increasingly vocal in the Palalottomatica. Mistakes began to enter their game and before they knew it Miljkovic spiked home his seventh point of the set, and 11th of the match to complete the set. An excellent illustration of Bulgaria's problems was that no player scored more than two points in the set.

The Bulgarians refound their composure in the final set and kept pace at 13-13 but Serbia and Montenegro gained an edge at 22-19 before the inevitable was confirmed as a double block from captain Nikola Grbic and Andrija Geric sealed victory and third place.