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Women s Olympic Games 2004 - Press Conference

Press conference

Cuba beat China 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 15-25, 25-21, 15-13) - duration 2:03
18-Aug, start time: 14:00, end time: 16:03 - Attendance: 4'300
City: Athens; Hall : Peace and Friendship Stadium
Cuba hands China first defeat in Pool B
World number five Cuba and world number three China lived up to the hype and offered the crowd a great match-up with Cuba coming back from 2-1 down to clinch the honours and go level with China at the top of Pool B.

The Central Americans started the first set very aggressively building a significant lead 7-1 but China soon went on a point-streak of their own to bring the score back from 20-13 to 21-19. Unfortunately for the Chinese fans it was too little too late and the superb serving of Zoila BARROS FERNANDEZ completed the first set win for Cuba.

China, the 2003 World Cup title holders, trailed most of the second set too. However, this time their comeback - punctuated with spikes from Lina WANG and Ping ZHANG - was enough to take the lead. China's serving also improved and the end of the second set saw the Asian team celebrating a 25-22 win.

The good morale was now transferred to China's side. Cuba could not resist but make a lot of errors that led to the Chinese victory, 25-15 in 22 minutes.

The heart of the champion was still there, though. Inspired by four aces from Liana MESA LUACES, BARROS FRENANDEZ 2 and Nancy CARILLO de la PAZ in the fourth set, Cuba rebounded and sailed to a 25-21 win to send the game into the tiebreaker.

The fifth set began in the way that the fourth ended. Cuba started very strongly, kept up their great tempo on service (10 aces in total) and held an early lead 7-3, then 9-5. But China were not done yet. Guided by Hao YANG (22 points in total) they tied the set at 9-9, 10-10 and then 11-11. Two spikes by RUIZ LUACES gave Cuba a margin of 2 points at 13-11, and enough of a margin to claim the final set 15-13.

BARROS FERNANDEZ and RUIZ LUACES were on-fire with 24 and 22 points respectively, while YANG (22 points) and WANG (20) lead China offensively.

ONS sk