Volleyball: Italian men oust U.S. and seek first gold

Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:28pm EDT
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By Anthony Boadle

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Italy's men's volleyball team put an end to a U.S. winning streak and ousted the Americans from the Rio Games in a five-set battle on Friday to go through to the final where they will seek their first Olympic gold medal.

Italy overcame the United States 30-28 26-28 9-25 25-22 15-9 and will face twice Olympic champions and three-times silver medalists Brazil in Sunday's title showdown.

The Brazilians avenged the loss of their 2012 London Games final to Russia in Friday's second semi-final, overpowering the defending champions 3-0.

The Americans did not have the same luck in reverting a pool round loss to Italy, who ended a run of four straight victories by the United States as well as their bid for a fourth Olympic gold in the sport.

With unstoppable spikes and ace serves by their top scorer Ivan Zaytsev, the Italians took a hard-fought opening set.

The U.S. took the second and third sets despite a barrage of killer spikes by Osmany Juantorena, a former Cuba national team wing spiker now playing for Italy.

FIELD DAY   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Volleyball - Men's Semifinals Italy v USA - Maracanazinho - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/08/2016. Italy's players celebrate winning.    REUTERS/Yves Herman