Bari, Italy, June 20, 2016 – The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Pool F match between Italy and Thailand, which had to be completed on Monday morning following a blackout at the Pala Florio Stadium in Bari on Friday, resulted in a hard-fought five-set victory for Thailand 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-11).
The Thai side started the first set well, leading 8-4 at the first technical time-out. An injury to Nootsara Tomkom forced coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul to make a substitution (Soraya Phomla in). Ajcharaporn Kongyot led the way for her team, despite Italy’s attempt to get back into the match at 17-13, and Thailand won the first set 25-20.
The second set saw the Italians determined to mount a comeback. They seemed to have found their rhythm as Paola Egonu set about bringing the Azzurre into the match. After the first time-out, they led 11-8. Outstanding moves by Ajcharaporn and Wilavan Apinyapong did not prevent Italy from scoring (16-13). An imposing Egonu closed the set at 25-23.
The third set saw the rhythm of the match go in favour of the Italian team at the first technical time-out. The Asian team put on a strong performance in defence, however, to lead at 11-10, improving to 16-13 after the second technical time-out. Martina Giuggi brought Italy to a 20-20 tie. The 23-year-old opposite Valentina Diouf repeated the feat at 21-21. Impressive Thatdao Nuekjang and Malika Kanthong helped Thailand take the set, however, at 25-23.
Italy first lead 8-5 at the first technical time-out in set four, taking the advantage to 16-10 at the second break. Great performances from middle blockers Guiggi and Anna Danesi and Ofelia Malinov’s spike earned Italy a 24-19 score. In fitting fashion, it was Egonu who closed the set at 25-19 for Italy.
At the beginning of a thrilling fifth set, Thailand regained their confidence and led by 3-2. Italy lost their focus making a series attacking errors, suffering a 8-2 disadvantage. Thailand pulled away and won the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.