Russia seal commanding three-set win in their #GOlympia opener

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Russia beat Finland 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19) in the first match of Pool B at the European Olympic Qualifier in Berlin on Tuesday.

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The meeting was a rematch of the pool match between the sides at the European Championship in Busto Arsizio, Italy where Russia swept Finland en-route to their sixth-place finish. Finland had to settle for 12th at the tournament, but here in Berlin Tuomas Sammelvuos side were bidding to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time.

The first set was dominated by Russia who established an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Tuomas Sammelvuos side rallied to reduce the deficit to 8-7, but Russia pushed ahead to take a 24-16 lead with some powerful play at the net. Finland prevented the inevitable by winning the first set point, but a serve into the net from Olli-Pekka Ojansivu handed Russia the first set 25-17.

Russia continued to dominate in the second set but their lead was cut by Finland who drew level at 11-11. However, at the second technical timeout, the 2012 Olympic gold medallists led 16-12. Captain Sergey Tetyukhin and Maxim Mikhailov continued to score and although they did not use the first set point, a good block from Dmitry Kovalev took the second set 25-16.

Errors crept into Russias game in the final set but they had enough to stay ahead of the northern Europeans who were not giving up easily. Vladimir Aleknos side eventually pulled clear with a six-point lead at 23-17 and won the match when Sauli Sinkkonen fired a serve into the net.

Maxim Mikhailov, Russias top scorer with 15 points, said: We did not know what to expect since Finland have come here with many players who were not on their roster at the European Championship last October. I wouldnt call it an easy win even though the match finished in three sets. The best teams in the world are competing here, so we had a difficult match today and it is going to continue in the same way also for the remainder of the tournament.

Team Finlands captain Antti Siltala said: You cant be happy after losing a match in three sets. Halfway through each set, exactly where we should have stepped up our efforts, we somehow let it go. Of course Russia are a very strong opponent and they performed well in every aspect of the game. We now have to focus on tomorrow, this is going to be a very important match for us.

Finland will look to bounce back when they meet Bulgaria in the first match of the day on Wednesday, while Russia compete in the late match against World League champions, France.

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Hinweis: Dies ist ein aktueller Bericht vom 05.01.2016!



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