Cuba progressed to the semifinals of the ninth-place foursome of the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship 2021, after defeating Bahrain in four sets in Tuesday’s only Pool H match at Levski Sofia volleyball hall in Bulgaria. That result also stamped Canada’s ticket for advancement, while winless Bahrain will have to join the race for the 13th place in the final standings.
Cuba advance from Pool H along with Canada
The team from the Caribbean island survive tough battle with Bahrain
Published 03:43, 28 Sep 2021
Cuba and Bahrain engaged in two hours of hard-fought nip-and-tuck volleyball before Cuba emerged with a 3-1 (26-28, 25-21, 27-25, 25-23) win securing their spot among the top two teams of the pool and leaving Bahrain in the third place of the final Pool H standings. On Wednesday, the Cubans will challenge the other unbeaten team in the pool, Canada, for the top of the table.
Bahrain won the first set on an elegant tip by Sayed Amin Ebrahim (13 points in the set!) after wiping out a four-point deficit. They were in the lead for most of the second set, but this time Cuba came from behind thanks to improved blocking efforts with the two-men wall erected by Christian Thondike and Alejandro Gonzalez producing the winner. In set three, the lead went back and forth many times, with the NORCECA side celebrating in the overtime. The fourth set followed a similar scenario as the second, with Reynier Ibar closing the match Cuba’s way with a monster block.
Sayed Amin delivered the match high of 23 points for Bahrain. Outside Victor Andreu was Cuba’s most prolific player with 17.
“We expected the match to be a bit easier, but Bahrain managed to put us in trouble mostly because of the high number of mistakes committed on our side. Still, we are happy about the final score and the win,” Cuban setter Christian Thondike told Volleyball World.