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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 9, 2016 – Argentina defeated defending champions Russia 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21) in a Pool B match of the men’s volleyball tournament at Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Tuesday morning.

It was the second victory of the South Americans over the powerhouse Russia in a 45-day span with the previous one a 3-0 result at the FIVB World League on June 26. Argentina improved to a 2-0 mark in the preliminary round, while Russia fell to 1-1 with three more pool matches to play.

The smaller Argentineans outblocked Russia 11-7 with Pablo Crer and Sebastian Sole registering 5 and 3 blocks, respectively. The winners also outscored their opponents 6-3 and committed 15 errors to 23 by the losers.

Bruno Lima and Facundo Conte with 18 and 16 points, respectively, were the top Argentinean scorers. Crer finished with 11, while Sole and Ezequiel Palacios had 9 points each.

Egor Kliuka had 16 points in the losing effort, all via attacks, and Kostyantyn Bakun and Artem Volvich had 14 and 11, respectively.

Consecutive spikes by Poglajen and Lima after an opponent’s error gave Argentina a three-point lead at 10-7 in the first set. Lima and Crer each had five points in the opening set won by the South Americans by a comfortable 25-18.

Bakun scored twice with spikes for a 9-4 Russian lead in the second set that expanded to 12-6 with big hits by Bakun and Volkov. At the end it was 25-18 for Russia.

Trailing 13-12 in the third set, Conte and Sole combined aced and spike. After a Russian error, Conte landed another ace for 16-13. Argentina won the set 25-18 with a spike by Conte to end a long rally.

Blocks by Alexander Volkov against Conte and Crer gave Russia a two-point lead at 8-6. Argentina came back to tie at 18-all with spikes by Conte and Lima but Tetyukhin and Kobzar restored the distance at 20-18. Argentina tied at 20-all with two opponent’s errors and Sole blocked Mykhailov. Argentina won 25-21 when Volkov’s serve sailed long.

Press Conference:

Coach Julio Velasco recommended his players to find and stay with the right balance between confidence and humility after their big victory over Russia in four sets, the second in a span of 45 days against the defending Olympic champions.

Julio Velasco, Coach of Argentina: I am very proud about this victory because I grew up learning from Russian volleyball. We defeated them at the World League and it was a difficult task to repeat. We followed our game plan and kept it for the whole match. Our serves and defence were the keys for us. We move closer to the quarterfinals but still have matches to play. My advice to my players is to find the correct balance between confident and humble an stay that way.

Luciano de Cecco, Captain of Argentina: We still have some areas where need to be improved but I am very happy and congratulate our coaching staff and my teammates. I think we blocked pretty well, played good and aggressive defence, served well and counterattacked. They (Russians) are a more physical team than us, but we played like it was the final match.

Vladimir Alekno, Coach of Russia: Argentina is a very strong team and defeated us in the World League. The summary of the match is simple mathematics: The team who made most errors lost the match. Congratulations to Argentina.

Sergey Tetyukhin, Captain of Argentina: We played good volleyball for parts of the game but today it was not possible against Argentina and their serves. That was the difference today. Congratulations to all the players of Argentina for a deserving victory.

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