Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 4, 2013 – Defending champions Iran, Japan, China and Korea stormed into the semi-finals of the 17th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Friday.
The winning team will qualify for the FIVB Men's Grand Champions Cup in November, joining hosts Japan, Brazil, Russia, USA and the team selected by the FIVB/JVA/NTA.
China outplay India 3-1
In the feature match of the day, China ran through the Indian defence for a convincing 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18) victory in the third quarter-final of the day.
The slight increase in the number of fans for the Indian side spurred the sky blue men to play an error-free game to stun Asia’s second best team, China in the first set.
However, the Chinese stamped their pedigree with an all-out attack whenever the Indians were slow to react to the needs of the situation in the third and fourth sets.
Japan 3, Thailand 0
Thailand found themselves in arrears and big trouble when they could not counter the Japanese offensives, which kept varying during the different stages of the first quarter-final on Friday.
The Japanese easily overcame Thailand for a 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-16) victory.
The usually reliable Thai wall was discovered themselves weak against the high precision Japanese bombing from both corners of the net.
According to coach Gary Sato, the Japanese tightened up on their serves during practice after their loss to China on Wednesday, bettering the team for Friday's matchup.
For the first time in the match, the Thais let the opponents gallop to the biggest point lead in the match, at 12-19 and 13-21 in the third set. The Thais seemed disjointed even while serving before bowing out of the event.
Japan’s Yusuke Ishijima, skipper Kota Yamamura and Yu Koshikawa multi-tasked brilliantly in front with deeply angled smashes and tremendous double-hand blocks.
“The first set made all the difference," said Mr. Monchai Supajirakul, head coach of Thailand. "We received and passed well but missed out on the easy chances.”
Japan's head coach Sato attributed the win to the team's improvements over the week.
“It was a battle of receiving and first passing out there," he said. "Whoever was able to do this simple but basic essence in volleyball came out better, yeah, our serves definitely improved and so did our spiking."
Iran dominate Lebanon 3-0
Iran, once again backed by the thunderous cheering of 1,000 supporters, showed they have enough strength in their reservoir even when the regular performers are slightly off.
Iran won 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17) against a slightly bemused Lebanon squad.
Iran's power proved a spectacle, as the team switched on with a small change in gesture or instruction from coach Julio Velasco. The World Championship qualifier from Asia are in unconquerable form so far in this event.
Amer Ghafour was sometimes error-prone and the usual venom in his smashes was missing. But southpaw Farhad Ghaeimi, Seyed Mohammad Mousavi E. and Adel Gholami - well fed by setter Mehdi Mahdavi - always managed to punch holes in the Lebanese armour.
The third set saw the defending champions steam ahead of their Mediterranean rivals 16-9 before the Lebanese could muster some courage to reduce the margin.
“Taking on Japan in the semis is one big proposition because they are so dangerous in fast counter moves," said Velasco. "We beat them twice during the World Championship qualifiers in Teheran last year.”
“Iran have reputation, strength and a continuous smashing game which is difficult to counter punch point by point. In the minor placing playoffs we will definitely cut down on our unforced errors while receiving on this against Thailand," said Lebanon's head coach Sherit Moufid.
Korea down Australia 3-0
It was expected a half-half match, but Korea proved it was wrong. In the last quarter-final at the Hamdan Sports Complex, Korea surprisingly took a straight-set win against the world 12th ranker Australia in less than 80 minutes. The set score was 25-14, 25-17 and 25-16.
Korea’s quickness and diversity in attacking confused Australia while their defence in middle-back court by Lebero Bu Yongchan protected Australia from scoring as usual.
Australia called several timeouts in order to change the situation but their problem in errors, which also was revealed in previous matches especially when against India, proved fatal. Korea scored 24 points from the opponent’s errors while Australia only scored 9.
The best scorer of Korea Kim Jeonghwan won 15 points and he also got great support from his teammates as Jeon Kwangin and Park Sanha won 9 and 8 respectively. Australia’s best scorer was Edgar Thomas with 12 points.
Competition Schedule and Results
October 4th, 2013 (Friday)
At Hamdan Sports Complex
10:00am – Afghanistan v Myanmar (17th-20th) 0-3 (16-25, 16-25, 23-25)
12:00pm – Thailand v Japan (1st-8th) 0-3 (24-26, 21-25, 16-25)
14:00pm – Iran v Lebanon (1st-8th) 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17)
16:00pm – China v India (1st-8th) 3-1 (22-15, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18)
18:30pm – Australia v Korea (1st-8th) 0-3 (14-25, 17-25, 16-25)
At Al Nasr Club:
10:00am – Kuwait v Oman (17th-20th) 3-2 (25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 21-25, 15-10)
12:00pm – Kazakhstan v Sri Lanka (9th-16th) 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-22)
14:00pm – Bahrain v Uzbekistan (9th-16th) 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-23)
16:00pm – Chinese Taipei v Iraq (9th-16th) 3-0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-23)
18:30pm – UAE v Qatar (9th-16th) 0-3 (22-25, 21-25, 14-25)
October 5th, 2013
At Hamdan Sports Complex:
10:00am Afghanistan v Oman (19th-10th)
12:00pm Thailand v Lebanon (5th-8th)
14:00pm Australia v India (5th-8th)
16:00pm Japan v Iran (1st-4th)
18:30pm Korea v China (1st-4th)
At Al Nasr Club
10:00am Myanmar v Kuwait (17th-18th)
12:00pm Uzbekistan v Iraq (13th-16th)
14:00pm Qatar v Kazakhstan (9th-12th)
16:00pm Bahrain v Chinese Taipei (9th-12th)
18:30pm UAE v Sri Lanka (13th-16th)
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