Catamarca, Argentina, June 19, 2011 – Argentina overcame Portugal 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17) on Sunday in Catamarca to hold on to top spot in Pool C of the 2011 FIVB World League with a record of seven victories from a total of eight matches played so far.
Argentina tops the ranking of Pool C with 20 points, followed by Serbia with 13, Finland with eight and Portugal with seven. Two more weekends are at stake with any team being able to win 12 more points. The top two teams, Argentina and Serbia, will face each other on the sixth and final weekend in what could be a duel for top place and a ticket for the Final Round in Poland.
Federico Pereyra scored 16 points for the home team while Gaspar Hugo topped the tally for Portugal with 10 points.
Arroyo came in for Sole for Argentina while Hugo Gaspar and Manuel Silva replaced Valdir Sequeira and Flavio Cruz for Portugal at the start of the match. With two unforced errors and an ace Portugal took a quick 3-0 lead and Javier Weber immediately requested his first TO. A Conte ace helped Argentina to come back to 5-5 and then take the lead. Thereafter the lead changed continuously until Tiago Violas gave the local team a two-point advantage at 14-12 when Juan Diaz requested a TO. Level at 14-14, Argentina could not find the answer to Portugal’s strong serving until the second technical time-out when they were up by one point. Diaz takes another timeout at 19-17 but the local team find their momentum and an error by Carlos Filalgo closes the set.
It was more of the same at the start of the second set with Portugal gaining the advantage and Argentina fighting back. After losing three straight points, Portugal coach Diaz stops the set to talk with his players but Argentina take another three points to lead 8-5 at the first TTO. The set goes on point-by-point but with Argentina slowly widening the gap. Pereyra’s kill spike closes the set.
Portugal opted to make personnel changes at the start of the third set and they hold their own in the early stages. Weber called a timeout with the score at 8-10, hoping to avoid a repeat of yesterday's third-set collapse. Argentina respond and Diaz calls a timeout at 13-11, but the hosts are three points up at the second TTO. Finally, Pereyra applied the coup de grace.
Both sides have home games on the fifth weekend of the Intercontinental Round of the FIVB World League with Argentina hosting Finland, while Portugal will face Serbia.