Bahrain clinched a thilling victory over South American giants Puerto Rico last night to make a strong start to the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship 2019.
Boosted by the cheers and beating drums of a near-capacity local crowd at the Bahrain Volleyball Association arena in Shaikh Isa Sports City, the tournament hosts stunned their heavily favoured rivals in straight sets 25-18, 25-14, 25-20.
It was the perfect beginning to the competition for the home side, who are playing in Pool ‘A’ in the first round. They are now in prime position to make history and qualify for the second phase with at least one more win in their next two games.
In the other Pool ‘A’ fixture yesterday, China beat Morocco 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-13).
In Bahrain’s resounding win, the hosts were in inspired form and they never wavered until the very last point.
Hasan Mohamed and Mahmood Abdulhussain had 12 points apiece in the win, while Sayed Mohamed Alabbar contributed seven points. Mohamed Jasim and Hasan Haider added six points each, while Mohamed Haroona rounded out the scorers with one point. Sebastian Negron led Puerto Rico with 12 points.
Following the match, Bahrain team director Abdulla Almahroos said that the result gives them a very good start to the world championship, but they are now focused on winning their second match against Morocco today.
“This is a good start, but we need to win against Morocco to stay in contention for the next round,” said Almahroos. “This gives us a little added pressure, but in the World Cup every win is important. Step by step, hopefully we can go to the second round.”
Bahrain’s clash with Morocco is scheduled to begin no earlier than 7pm.
Also taking big victories yesterday were Brazil, Korea and Russia. The Brazilians beat defending champions Poland, the Koreans stunned world number one-ranked Cuba, and Russia overcame European rivals the Czech Republic.
Elsewhere, Argentina beat Egypt, while Iran and Italy claimed convincing victories in three sets. Asian side Iran beat their African counterparts Tunisia, while Italy ousted Canada.
Tournament action continues today with the second day of the first round. Matches begin from 11.30am and continue until the night. All are welcome to attend. Entry is free.
The FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship 2019 is the 20th edition of the prestigious competition. Bahrain is hosting the event for the third time, having previously staged it in 1987 and 1997.
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