Manama : Bahrain under coach Yousef Khalifa Alasbool defeated Tunisia 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-22) in its fourth and final match of Pool A to finish in second place yesterday evening in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship at Shaikh Isa Sports City in Riffa.
The Bahrainis were inspired by Sayed Mohammed Allabar, Mohammed Jassim and Hassan Mohammedand who all scored 16 points each, along with Mahmood Abdulhussain (13), while top scoring for Tunisia was Salem Naffeti (21).
In first set action, Bahrain after leading early on at 4-1 held the lead until the score was tied at 15-15, but finished strongly to win the set.
Second set action was equally good for Bahrain, as after a tight start at 4-4, they won three unanswered points to lead 7-4 and got stronger as the set went on to make it 2-0.
The Tunisians under coach Chokri Bouzidi came back strongly in the third set and led 6-0 at one stage and kept the lead throughout, but in the latter stages Bahrain fought back and only trailed 20-21 late in the set.
Fourth set action saw a narrow 7-6 lead for Tunisia early in the set, then a brilliant mid-set revival gave Bahrain a 12-8 lead, only for the North Africans to level at 13-13.
It was touch and go with the scores equal towards the latter stages of the set at 21-21, but the hosts with two crucial unanswered points went 23-21 ahead and kept their nerve to finish second in Pool A.
In the other Pool A match, Egypt defeated the USA 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21) with Yousef Hafez Elsirgany (19) and Youssef Hamdy Awad (17) top scoring for the Egyptians, while for the Americans Jaylen Jasper (23) and Devin Joslyn (15) were top scorers.
“I think the game was easier for us because all the pressure was on the Tunisian team to win,” Bahrain head coach Yousef Khalifa said. “We were able to take the first two sets but they returned in the third and proved why they are champions of Africa. But we were able to end it in the fourth set and relieve some pressure from our players.
“Now, we have to forget everything at this point. We will next face very different teams, and we have to be confident in what we are able to do. We will prepare well for the next phase.”
In Group B, France inflicted a fourth and final defeat on defending champions Poland 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 40-38) which was notable for a marathon fourth set.
Top scoring for the French was Celestine Cardin (30) and Pierre Derouillon (21) and for Poland Bartosz Firszt (22) and Remigiusz Kapica (20).
Two halls at Shaikh Isa Sports City are hosting the matches and from tomorrow, the first pair of matches start at 11am, followed by further pairs at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.
All spectators are welcome to attend and entrance is 500 fils and tickets can be purchased at the gate.
The four pools comprised five teams each and played on a round-robin basis with the top four competing in the main Round of 16 knockout starting tomorrow, with the bottom team of each pool playing classification matches from tomorrow until Saturday to determine the 17th to 20th placings.
A rest day is being held today and after tomorrow’s Round of 16 matches, the quarter-finals take place on Friday, the Semi-finals on Saturday and the Gold and Bronze Medal matches on Sunday.
For more information, visit U19.boys.2017.volleyball.fivb.com.
Other scores: Pool B: Japan (Kento Miyaura, 13, Tatsunori Otsuka, 10) bt Brazil (Victor Aleksander Al Meida Cardosa, 18, Arthur Adriano Nath, 14) 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-18). Pool C: Russia (Stanislav Antonov, 10) bt South Korea (Donghyeok Im, 21, Sunho Kim, 13) 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 25-20). Turkey (Adis Lagamdzija, 27, Batuhan, Avci, 13) bt Argentina (Federico Jose Sela, 20, Juan Barrera, 15) 3-2, (28-26, 25-22, 21-25, 19-25, 15-11). Pool D: Italy (Diego Cantagalli, 20, Lorenzo Cortesia, 17) bt China (Cong Tian, 20, Ao Li, 15) 3-1 (25-22, 25-13, 20-25, 25-23). Iran (Porya Yali, 17, Amir Hossein Toukhteh, 11) bt Czech Republic (Marek Sotola, 17, Jan Svoboda, 10) 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-19).
Final Preliminary Standings (four matches, points):
Pool A: 1 Egypt (9), 2 Bahrain (8), 3 USA (8), 4 Puerto Rico (3), 5 Tunisia (2)
Pool B: 1 Japan (11), 2 France (9), 3 Brazil (7), 4 Cuba (2), 5 Poland (1).
Pool C: 1 Russia (9), 2 Argentina (9), 3 South Korea (7), 4 Turkey (5), 5 Chile (0).
Pool D: 1 Iran (11), 2 Italy (10), 3 Turkey (6), 4 Czech Republic (6), 4 China (3), 5 Chile (0).
Today is a rest day with the Round of 16 Knockout and 17th to 20th classification matches