Cordoba, Argentina, July 21, 2010 – The opening match of the 2010 FIVB World League Final Round in Pool F was won by Russia 3-2 (25-14, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 15-7) in a dazzling tie breaker match on Wednesday at the impressive Orfeo Superdomo Stadium.
Italy’s Alessandro Fei topped the scores with 20 points, while Russia’s Maxim Mikhylov scored 18 points.
Russia jumped to an early three point lead in the first set which widened thanks to their impressive height advantage difference. Italy gained momentum at times but last year’s bronze medalists proved too good in the first set, only committing two unforced errors on their way to a dominate 11-point win.
Italy took the lead in the second set and managed to maintain it with 31-year-old Alessandro Fei leading from the front. His 13 points helped Italy to tie the match at 1-1.
The third set went point-by-point with both sides struggling on serve. Russia eventually claimed the set thanks to a Alexander Volkov block.
In another point-by-point set, Italy forced a tie breaker in the fourth with Matej Cernic coming into form to spike home the winner. With the momentum purely in Italy’s favour, an upset looked on the cards but Russia’s impressive aerial game proved too much as they took an 8-4 and 10-5 lead. It was left for Russian top scorer Mikhaylov to finish off the match as Russia claimed their 19th win over Italy in 37 matches.
The next matches in Pool F will see Cuba (bye on Wednesday) face Russia on Thursday and Italy on Friday.