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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 – As much more experienced Argentine side defeated the young Cuban team in straight sets (25-16, 25-14, 25-16) in Pool B of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s volleyball competition at Maracanazinho on Saturday.

Argentina showed some balanced offence against Cuba, with Ezequiel Palacios leading them with 13 points. Bruno Lima and Cristian Poglajen contributed to their victory with 10 and nine points, respectively. Cuba, on the other hand, mainly relied on the offence of Osniel Rendon, who also scored 13 points.

Argentina capitalised on their strength in attack, which gave them a comfortable cushion in the opening set. Cuba, on the other hand could not convert on their attempts. Argentina won a challenge that got them at set point, until Cristian Poglajen ensured it with an attack winner to close the first set 25-16.

Argentina overwhelmed Cuba in the second set as Ezequiel Palacios and Bruno Lima stepped up on offence. Cuba had a promising start in the set and even held the lead but the Argentine block strained their offence. Argentina took a 2-0 set-lead with a block from Poglajen.

Argentina executed power plays with Palacios and Lima. Palacios also helped out on defence, which helped his squad to gain a significant advantage. Argentina completed the straight-set triumph with a 25-16 win in the third set.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 – Argentina coach Julio Velasco and Cuba coach Nicolas Vivez mentioned that the difference in experience between the two squads was a factor in this encounter in Pool B at the Maracanazinho on Saturday.

Argentina utilised their experience to gain advantage over the young Cuban players in the straight-set encounter.

Press Conference:

Julio Velasco, Coach of Argentina:

We played a good match with few mistakes. Our system of side-out, block-defence and counter-attack worked well. It was only in the beginning of the first and second sets that we made some mistakes, also because Cuba played better. Cuba is a very young team and they did many mistakes that helped us. They are an interesting team and they have very young players. Our team improved on some things. Now we are thinking about Egypt. Although it’s through that we’re qualified to the next round but it’s very important to raise the status of Argentine volleyball.

Luciano De Cecco, Captain of Argentina:

This was a really quick match. I am hoping to see this Cuban team play good volleyball in the future. I think we served well and we had good teamwork in this match. Cuba have very young players but I like playing with them. They have very good potential and they play very well.

Ezequiel Palacios, Player of Argentina:

It was a really good match for us at this point in the competition. We’ve got a great atmosphere from the crowd. We knew that after the first 15 points that it will be a good match. We played well in all the sets and it’s a big team, so we had a lot of changes to make in the match.

Nicolas Vivez, Coach of Cuba:

We had some issues with our focus in this match. Argentina played very well and this gave us a lot of pressure for my team. There was a big difference in experience between the two teams. Our players are very young, as young as 17 years old, but this competition is important for us and it is good for the team to prepare them in the future.

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