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Poland win after a heart-stopping fight

Poland's Kurek in action in Wednesday's final match

Gdansk, Poland, July 6, 2011 – Poland beat Bulgaria 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 14-25, 25-22, 15-13) in front of their home fans in a real volleyball thriller in the last match of the first day of the 2011 FIVB World League Final Round in Gdansk on Wednesday.

Poland gained revenge over their rivals after they were unceremoniously dumped out of the second round of 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Italy.

Bartosz Kurek, Poland's best scorer gained 24 points, while Tsvetan Sokolov topped all scorers with 27 points.

The opening set started well for Poland, who - supported by thousands of fans - gained a three-point-advantage (8-5). They stayed in control throughout and won the set 25-20.

Set two was tighter than the previous one as play continued on a point-by-point basis. Neither team jumped ahead until Poland gained a two-point-advantage at 15-13. Bulgaria tied the score at 18-18 and the game became close again before a thrilling finish saw the visitors take the set 25-23.

In the third set Bulgaria quickly gained a three-point-lead at 6-3 and dominated afterwards (9-4). The hosts were clearly distracted and made a lot of mistakes as  Bulgaria easily picked up the set 25-14 and gained a 2-1 lead in the match.

Poland, determined to tie the overall score, refused to let Bulgaria jump ahead once again in the fourth set as they took a 9-5 lead. They continued their good run throughout and won the set 25-22.

The tie-break started with the home side taking a lead, jumping ahead to 7-2. Poland kept an advantage of at least four points however, at 11-4, the opposite, Zbigniew Bartman was injured following a problem with his left calf which handed Bulgaria three points in a row. After a moment, it was 12-12. Nevertheless Poland managed to recover and won the thrilling fifth set 15-13.

Poland will now face Italy while Bulgaria take on Argentina.


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