Ruthless Serbia overcome Bulgaria for place in Men's U23 final
Serbia jumped into an early 4-0 lead with blocks from Srecko Lisinac and Aleksandar Atanasijevic, and while Bulgaria narrowed the gap, a strong Atanasijevic serve restored Serbia's four-point lead, 12-8 at the technical timeout. From there Serbia showed an amazing all-round performance with Filip Stoilovic also scoring from the serve line and Lisinac adding more blocks as they took the set 21-13.
Bulgaria gained the upper hand at the start of the second set through the attacks of opposite Jani Jeliazkov, but Serbia gradually worked their way back into it after the technical timeout with Lisinac's blocking, sometimes in combination with Uros Kovacevic, as crucial as Atanasijevic's heavy spiking. Bulgaria found the middle blocker unpassable at the end of the set as Serbia claimed it 21-18.
Serbia rode their momentum into the third set. Their tight net defence continued, this time in combination with the spiking attacks of Kovacevic and Stoilovic, and put them 12-7 ahead at the technical break. There was no way back for Bulgaria and Serbia wrapped up the set 21-10 for a 3-0 win and a place in the final.
Serbia's total of 18 blocking points was the highest by a team in the competition so far, and Lisinac's personal total of 10 was also a competition high. Alongside that defence, the attacks of Atanasijevic, Stoilovic and Kovacevic were just too much for Bulgaria to deal with.
On the final day of the tournament Serbia will now play for the gold medal against home team Brazil, while Bulgaria will play for bronze against Russia.