Belgrade, Serbia, June 24, 2016 - Iran's Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad scored match-high 21 points to help his team to prevail over Bulgaria 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20) in the opening match of the second week in FIVB Volleyball World League with a Group 1 match in Belgrade.
The next best scorer for Iran was Milad Ebadipour Ghara with 17 points, while Bulgaria's Tsvetan Sokolov scored a team-high 19 points. Both nations met for the first time at the World League. For Bulgaria it was the fourth consecutive defeat in this year's competition.
Bulgaria started the match convincingly forcing Iran to call the timeout at 4-2, but it didn't help much as the European side extended the lead to 8-5 at the first technical timneout. Afterwards Iran refocused to tie the score at 11-11, but Bulgaria refused to give up and went 15-11 in front thanks to great serving from Nikolay Penchev. Iran managed to reduce the gap only to 20-17 as Bulgaria evetually took the set 25-18.
Set two started level, but soon Iran went 12-8 up and took control over the proceedings on the court. Raul Lozano's team finished the set off at 25-20.
Set three saw again Iran racing off to a comfortable lead at 16-13, but after the second technical timeout Bulgaria reduced to only one point at 16-15 thanks to great blocking. In the late stage of the set Bulgaria were desperately trying to catch Iran, but failed and lost 25-23.
Both teams were trading points in the early set four until Iran put the gas pedal on and raced to a 18-13 lead. Bulgaria were not able to respond as Iran eventually wrapped up the set 25-20.