Hichem Kaabi leads Tunisia in thrilling comeback against Montenegro


Hichem Kaabi led his team to a win over Montenegro on Saturday

Tunis, Tunisia, June 25, 2016 – Tunisia saved a match point and came back from a two-set deficit to prevail 3-2 (22-25, 25-27, 31-29, 26-24, 19-17) over Montenegro in one of the most exciting FIVB World League fixtures on Saturday.

Montenegro started off well grabbing a quick three-point lead. Tunisia were able to find their rhythm as well, but they were always playing catch up in the opening set. Duo Marko Bojic and Aleksandar Minic eventually led the visitors to a 25-22 victory. 

The second set was a closely contested affair with neither team able to build an advantage of more than 3 points. Hichem Kaabi delivered in the crucial moments for the home side helping Tunisia to a 22-19 lead. Just as the home fans were looking for their team to tie things up in the match, Montenegro scored four points in a row to go 23-22 up. Tunisia managed to save two set points, but it was all they could do as the visitors snatched the set, 27-25. 

The third set was nearly a repeat of the second with both teams starting point for point. Tunisia managed to get away before the second technical time-out, however, going 13-10 up. They held off the visotors well until, once again, they let their advantage slip away going from 22-19 to 22-23. This time the home favourites quickly recovered to win back the lead an after a series of missed set points finally secured the third set, 31-29. 

The fourth set was just as thrilling as the first three. With both teams starting out strongly the hosts managed to build a three-point cushion by the second technical time-out. Once again, however, they were unable to maintan their advantage as Marko Bojic took charge of the match to put his team 20-18 up. His side earned a match point at 24-23, but were unable to close things out and Tunisia capitilised on their opponents' lapse in concetration snatching three points in a row and the fourth set, 26-24. 

In the tiebreak the visitors were visibly deflated after conceding the previous two sets and allowed Tunisia to race out to a strong 4-1 lead. The hosts were able to widen the gap after the technical time-out by jumping 10-4 ahead. In another amazing turn of events Montenegro managed a comeback by pulling back to 12-9 and 14-12 for Tunisia, before saving a couple of match points to make things even again. Tunisia squandered a few more match points before finally putting away the tiebreaker by 19 points to 17. 

The match's top scorer was Tunisia's Hichem Kaabi with 26 points, including 3 blocks and 23 kills, followed closely by Marko Bojic of Montenegro who scored 23 points.


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