Bulgaria climbed the first place in Group F with 6 points and Russia is second also with 6. "The lions" avenged the finns for the loss in Moscow two years ago by humiliating them 3:0 in their first game in Group F.
Bulgaria crushed Finland 3:0 and got closer to the semi-finals, as earlier today Russia overcame Serbia 3:1. The result in the sets was 25:22, 25:15 and 25:20 for the bulgarians. The first part of the game was really competitive untill twentieth point, in the second Bulgaria gained the upper hand, while in the third set Finland revived from 14:19 to 18:19, but in the end "the lions" triumphed.
The Finns took an early lead, thanks to bulgarians’ nervous play. The Balkan team shook the pressure of treir chest and equalized 4-4 with magnificent blockade. It was 8-7 for Finland in the first technical timeout, and they kept performing great in defence, and the bulgarians struggled to score. Valentin Bratoev substituted Todor Aleksiev and started to fire excellent serves which enabled Victor Yosifov to show his qualities in blocking. When the finns found their rhythm again and made a run for 19:17, bulgarian star Matei Kaziyski woke up with a couple of tremendous serves, which evened the scale and even gave initiative to "the lions". Bulgaria had more control over its nerves and succeded in winning the set – 25:22, thanks to some expertly taken blockades.
The second part looked a lot different than the first – it had really little competition and bulgarians dominated from the very begining. It was 8-5 in the first gave interval, while after that Yosifov discouraged Oivanen brothers with superb blocks. Vlado Nikolov was finishing the atacks with calm accuracy, and Kaziyski had no trouble overcoming opponent’s blockade whatsoever. The setter Andrei Jekov managed the play of his teammates perfectly and Bulgaria won the set 25:15.
The fans from Finland irresolutely started to wave the national flags in Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall when their team showed little improvement in the begining of the third set. But the finns worked hard for every point, while the bulgarians were dancing with the ball. Valentin Bratoev were like a sledgehammer – hitting powerful serve afer serve until the second technical timeout – 16:11 for Bulgaria. After the short break the players in green started to relax a bit more than needed and Finland almost equalized – 19:18. But it was again Bratoev and Kaziyski with piercing serves and the set ended 25:20 in Bulgaria favour.
Daniel Lyubomirov – sportvox.net