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Poglajen was the best scorer as substitute player

Sofia, Bulgaria - June 30th, 2012 - Argentina gave hard time for Bulgaria and did not surrender until the very end of the match 4 in Pool D of the Intercontinental Round of World League 2012. At the end hosts reached the triumph winning 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 24-26, 25-11, 15-12). Top scorers this Saturday were Todor Aleksiev with 19 for the winner while Cristian Poglajen scored 15 for the South American team. Tomorrow., Sunday, Bulgaria will make its final rehearsal for the start of the Finals against Germany, and Argentina needs to push one more match away - against Portugal (9.30 Argentine time — live broadcast by ESPN+).

Both teams needed the victory only for self esteem. Argentina lost chances for the Final Round and Bulgaria fighting to get in shape for next week. In front of 4,000 people in the hall, including Minister of Sports Svilen Neykov, expectations for quick ride over the second team of Gauchos, chashed after the second set and had to be revived just after the tie break.

Viktor Yosifov and captain Vladimir Nikolov arrowed Bulgaria ahead in the first set and nothing was there to tell that it will be more than 2 hour marathon on the court. 5 kill blocks also gave advantage for the hosts to close the set at 25-19.

Gauna and Poglajen lead Argentina in the second and with some smooth reception, Gauchos dominated after the first technical time out which came at 8-7 for Bulgaria. Several unforced errors finished hosts and they lost 21-25.

Tsvetan Sokolov came on court substituting captain Nikolov in third and was a fresh sprak in Bulgaria's play. Another substitution Valentin Bratoev also make some good spikes. It was all looking good for then, but at the end Argentina managed somehow to take the lead at 24-23 and to close it 26-24.

This only made Balkan Lions only angry in the fourth set. Todor Aleksiev then proved his former coach Radostin Stoychev wrong, pushing Argentina down with 17 points until the end of the set. It was a humiliations for Gauchos, who left the set losing 11-25. The last set started really tense and kept getting laborious until the very end. The result was going point by point. Obviously Bulgaria was the better team on the court and managed to close the game with the result of 15-11.

Press Conference:

Nayden Naydenov, coach of Bulgaria: It was a good match. I am glad that we came out as winners and that the team managed to mobilize in the end of the last games. Especially in the fourth and the fifth we played the best way possible. Every set is important as I need to find the exact players to count on in future and in this way to build a strong team. We made a lot of mistakes in counter – attack, but we will make our conclusions for the future.

Vladimir Nikolov, captain of Bulgaria: It was a tight match. I am satisfied that in the decisive moments we presented stronger team spirit. The match was very important for us having in mind all the difficulties we had.

Juan Manuel Barrial, coach of Argentina: We played a similar match last week in Portugal. In the decisive moments Aleksiev and Sokolov served better and that put a lot of pressure on our reception. However, we played better than yesterday which is good for the young players here. We hope we will make a good match tomorrow.

Rodrigo Quiroga, captain of Argentina: I am sad because we lost this tight match. The way we played in the fourth and the fifth sets was not satisfying and our serve was not good which makes victories against teams like Bulgaria very difficult. We will try to think for the next match and to forget this one.

Statistics: P2 - P3 | Results and Standings
Photos: FeVA - FIVB | Live scoring