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World League 2003 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

Russia beat Spain 3-2 (25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9) - duration 2:19
06-Jun, start time: 20:07, end time: 22:26 - Attendance: 1,200
Defending champs hold off Spain in five set thriller
Russia, ranked number one in the world and unbeaten as Pool A leaders in the World League Intercontinental Rounds were given a full run through the Volleyball "under pressure" manual by third-placed Spain.
The title holders ran up a quick two set lead through their fantastic attacking qualities, particularly using their powerful spiking weapons in Semen Poltavsky and Pavel Abramov (Russia's top scorers on the night) to great effect.
However, the second set scoreline (25-23) pointed to a turn in the tide in terms of the direction of the match. Spain's confidence was growing and infront of a passionate home crowd, started coming back into the game more and more.
Their star player, No 1 and captain Rafael Pascual, started featuring more on attack, leading by example and geeing up his troops. And in an incredible turn around from two sets down, Spain gave their fans plenty to cheer about by sneaking the third set 26-24 before completing another Houdini act by stealing the fourth set 25-23. The power of the homecrowd and the home court proving to be an ominious sign considering the World League Finals are to be held in Madrid.
Unfortunately for the Spaniards they couldn't finish of the fairytale come-from-behind victory with Russia stepping up a gear when it mattered most and shutting the door closed on the comeback with a 15-9 shut out in the final set.
Fantasttic match of Volleyball with Russia showing all their Championship-winning qualities while Spain demonstrating what can be done infront of a home crowd.
All eyes are now on the rematch on Sunday at 10:00 GMT.
/rb