Italy, Iran close in on Men's VNL Finals


Giulio Pinali gets past the triple block of Serbia's Lazar Cirovic, Srecko Lisinac and Drazen Luburic as Italy secure their eighth win in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 19, 2019 - Italy moved a step closer to the Final Six of the 2019 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League Friday, after sweeping Serbia 3-0 (26-25, 25-19, 25-22) at home in Milan for their eighth win in ten games, as pool play resumed for Weekend 4 of pool play.

Other than the first set, when the hosts had to fend off one Serbian set point at 23-24 with an attack by Roberto Russo, before finishing on their own second with a kill from Giulio Pinali and an ace by Simone Giannelli, the game was rather one-sided.

Oleg Antonov led the scoring for Italy with a match high 14 points, including four blocks, as the home side pressed on with their serving, which resulted in eight aces to Serbia's just one.

Previously on Friday, Iran had also made a leap towards the finals in Chicago, 10-14 July, securing their lead in the standings after surviving an early scare for a 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-18) win over Portugal in Ardabil.

Amir Ghafour came on off the bench midway through the second set to substitute Porya Yali, and he stayed on till the end to emerge top scorer of the game with 16 points.

Portugal missed their chance to go two sets up, when they blew a set point at 24-25. Iran replied with back-to-back blocks on Alexandre 'Alex' Ferreira by Aliasghar Mojarad for 26-25 and by Ghafour for 27-25 to tie the game.

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