By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 4 — Russia won a real cliffhanger over Cuba in the Men’s World Volleyball League on Saturday, taking the long, tense fifth tiebreaking set 25-23 before a home crowd of 7,100 fans.
Cuba and Russia are now on top of Group C with identical 5-2 Records. Sunday’s match is considered crucial for both team’s hopes to win their division.
On Saturday, Russia jumped off to a first set lead with by an easy 25-14 score. But the Cubans managed to learn from their mistakes and came back to win set two (26-24) and set three (25-19) to put a scare in the locals.
Russia battled back for a tough 25-23 win in set four, setting the stage for the tiebreaker played to 15, with the winner having to take a two point advantage as in the regular sets. That proved easier said than done and the game extended until finally Russia managed to turn the trick 25-23.
The two squads had also played tough duels weeks before in Havana, having split their two matches.
In the other Group C match on Saturday, Bulgaria now (3-4) defeated Japan (1-6) in four difficult sets (23-25, 25-23, 31-29 and 28-26).