Russia stuns Brazil in men's volleyball final
London, England (Sports Network) - Russia twice fought off match point to extend its battle with Brazil in the men's volleyball final on Sunday.
When it was the Russians' turn to put things away, they didn't let the opportunity go to waste.
Russia rallied from two sets down to record a five-set victory over world No. 1 Brazil and capture its first Olympic gold medal.
Russia's stunning 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9 win prevented Brazil from a volleyball sweep at the London Games. Brazil's women's team defeated the U.S. in Saturday's final for its second straight gold.
The men's team settled for consecutive silvers despite being one point away from its third ever gold medal. Brazil lost to the U.S. in the final at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"The first three sets were good. We could have won the match but the fourth set went away. We didn't manage to follow the rhythm, it could have been different. We've lacked tranquility, now we have to think about 2016," said Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende.
A successful spike by Brazil's Lucas Saatkamp put his team up 24-23 in the third set, but Russia's Maxim Mikhaylov countered with a spike of his own. The Brazilians then went up again by a point thanks to Wallace de Souza's spike, but Sidnei dos Santos Junior couldn't cleanly block Mikhaylov's spike attempt and the game was again even.
Russia then failed to convert on two set-point chances before a Dmitriy Muserskiy spike and a kill block by Alexander Volkov gave the squad the needed set.
"(The) Brazilians started pushing us from the first serve and it is psychologically very difficult, but as the match goes they get tired and they lose pressure. This is what happened in the third set. They tried to play back, but without luck," said Muserskiy, who had a game-high 31 points.
Mikhaylov added 17 for the world No. 2 team.
After nearly blowing a seven-point lead in the fourth set, Russia rattled off three straight points in the fifth set to go up 9-4. After Muserskiy's spike gave Russia a 14-7 advantage, Brazil got points from Murilo Endres and de Souza before Muserskiy's spike ended the match.
Russia's previous best finish was a silver medal won in 2000. The Russians captured their second bronze medal in Beijing with a win over Italy.
"A lot of things didn't work for us today, but I think that it's a victory of the entire team because we played together and showed responsibility together," said Muserskiy.
The Brazilian squad was paced by 27 points from de Souza, while Endres had 18. However, Brazil will now head into the 2016 Rio Games looking for redemption.
Italy took the bronze medal earlier in the day with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory over Bulgaria.
08/12 11:35:38 ET