Russia's Egor Kliuka attacks against Tunisia's Elyes Garfi and Mohamed Brahem during their Men's Under-23 Volleyball Championship match.
Dubai - Turkey, Italy and Cuba register wins in men's world U-23 volleyball
Russia had to shrug off indifferent form before registering a 3-1 victory over Tunisia in the first match of the second FIVB Men's Under 23 World Championship at Al Ahli indoor stadium, on Monday afternoon.
Later in the afternoon, dark horses Turkey beat Argentina 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19), also in Group B, at the same venue while in Group A, Italy defeated Egypt 3-1 (22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19) at Al Nasr Club, the main venue. In a late evening clash in Group A, powerhouse Cuba downed Asian number two South Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22)
The Group B encounter between Russia and Tunisia did not reach the high standards expected.
However, with the teams slowly finding a rhythm after two erratic opening sets, the match shifted into a higher gear in the third and fourth sets.
The Russians led by big margins before closing out the first set but they ran into receiving problems when Tunisia's Wael Mrika and skipper Khaled Ben Slimene found huge holes in their opponents' midcourt.
The Russians marshalled their resources better as the digging by libero Illya Petrushov improved vastly which the towering Alexander Kimerov utilised fully with the help of Sergey Ershov and Roman Zhos, who came up with beautiful setups upfront when the big points were contested.
Russia coach Mikhail Nikolaev, said: "Tunisia is a very good team, it is very difficult to play against them. They made a few mistakes and it helped us. This is good result for our team but we must do much better from now."
"As usual the first games are always very hard in these tournaments. We will try to play much better in our attack and defensive departments as every side here is on the same playing level," said Russian player Egor Kliuka.
Veteran Tunisian coach Moncef Belaiba who has been here for many events here including the popular Rashid championship and coached UAE club and national sides, said: "Russia deserved the win and they are one of the best teams in the world. We were not good at serve and in defence. After second set, we just could not cope up because Russia is the more experienced and taller team. We let them to play open to often."
"We gave them a hard time but we were not lucky today (Monday). We have to be more focused in our next game against Turkey. We came here to gain experience and to go as far as we can," said Slimene, the Tunisian captain.