Bari's supporters cheer Italy on to beat Azerbaijan


Carolina Del Costagrande scored only 5 points against Azeri.

Bari, Italy, October 1, 2014 – Italy opened the second phase of the 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship beating Azerbaijan in four sets (25-19, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23).
Marco Bonitta's team struggled in the third set, but recovered soon enough to secure three points at Palaflorio Wednesday evening. At the end of Day One in the second phase, Italy were second in pool E behind China with 10 points.
Key points:
· It was the first meeting of the two teams at the World Championship.
· Azerbaijan's Polina Rahimova was the best scorer of the match with 28 points, but Italy had a more balanced offence with Valentina Diouf, Antonella Del Core, Valentina Arrighetti and Cristina Chirichella all scoring in double digits.
· The Azeri have just managed to win one set in their last four matches against CEV sides.
· Italy outblocked Azerbaijan 13-8.

After an ace of Diouf, Azerbaijan were already forced to call the time-out (5-2). Del Core blocked Gurbanova (13-8) but Rahimova blocked Diouf: they were only 13-12 behind. Italy went ahead at 16-12 at the second TTO (16-12). They maintained the lead and won the set thanks to Arrighetti (25-19).

After Rahimova was blocked by Chirichella, Azzurre were ahead at 9-5. Coach Chervyakov called a timeout (9-5). After the second TTO (16-9) and a miraculous foot-dig of Arrighetti, Rahimova stopped ice Del Core (17-11). Italy were ahead and Arrighetti claimed the second set for Italy (25-21).
A good tranches of service of Matiasovska put Azerbaijan up 8-5 at the first TTO. When Arrighetti served Italy were closer (8-9), but Polina Rahimova scored a lot of points (10-16). Azzurre were at one point-difference thanks to Video Challenge (16-17). Rahimova's services gave Azerbaijan a four-point cushion at 20-16 before Bonitta's team cut it to 21-20. At the end of the set, the Caucasians did not make any more mistakes and Katerina Zhidkova closed it (21-25).
Azerbaijan went ahead at the first TTO (8-6). They kept the four points lead at 13-9 but Italy did not give up (13-12). Azeri were again ahead 17-12 thanks to an ace of Matiasovska-Aghayeva but two blocks of Nadia Centoni got Italy closer (18-17). As Francesca Piccinini entered the court, the Italian crowd supported the team to recover. Arrighetti closed the game (25-23).


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