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Pakistan, Bangladesh Men open Asian Pool B tournament with wins

Pakistan's Farooq Khan spikes against Macau on Wednesday

Islamabad, Pakistan, January 28, 2009 – Pakistan and Bangladesh easily won their first matches against Macau and Maldives in straight sets on the first day of the 2010 Men's World Championship Asian Pool B preliminary tournament.

Bangladesh won 25-13, 25-21, 25-22 against Maldives on Wednesday before Pakistan downed Macau 25-11, 25-11, 25-12 in front of 1,500 spectators at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad.

Maldives will face Macau and Pakistan will fight against Bangladesh on the second day of competition Thursday.

The top two teams in Pool B will advance to the second preliminary round for Asia, with the first-place team playing in Tehran, Iran, in May and the second-place team playing in Nakhonpathom, Thailand, in June.

In a colourful opening ceremony, Pakistan Federal Minister for Sports Pir Aftab Shah Jilani inaugurated an event also attended by Pakistan Volleyball Federation Chairman Choudhry Muhammad Yaqoob, Pakistan Olympic Association Secretary Abdul Khaliq Khan and other dignitaries.

Pakistan eased to victory in the first set and conceded only 11 points in just 10 minutes. Pakistan made two changes in the second set, with Naseer Ahmed replacing Farooq Khan and debutant Imdad Hussain replacing Shujja Abbas.

Macau head coach Veng Tong Leong made some substitutions to up his team’s game tempo and they narrowed a gap of 13 points at 22-9 but Pakistan team kept up the pressure and won the second set 25-11.

The green shirts of Pakistan kept the pressure on in the third and final set with tactical serves, powerful spikes, effective blocking and cohesive team work. They conceded 12 points in closing out the final set.

Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas, Naseer and Mohib Rasool led their team in scoring. 

In the first match, Bangladeshi spikers opened the first set at a fast pace by scoring point after point through the ace services of Maqsood ul Haq and powerful spikes of left handed Sheikh All Mamun. They took the first set easily by conceding only 13 points.

In the second set both teams displayed high level Volleyball and some beautiful rallies were seen as both teams tried to subjugate their opponent and gain the lead. Both teams went net to net up to 21 points but at this stage the powerful spikes by Islam Md. Rafiqul and Mamun from Bangladesh gave their team an edge over their fighting opponents and Bangladesh won the set 25-21.

In the third set, Maldives came back and excelled in their spike and defense, switching over to some defensive play and power counter attacks to take lead in the early stages of the set. Bangladesh retaliated soon after and narrowed the gap by scoring some quick points. Bangladesh ultimately proved to be a better side and snatched the set 25-22.

Momun and Rafiqul were the main scorers from Bangladesh with 16 and 11 points, respectively.

Maldives’ Ahmed Abdul Kareem was the game-high scorer with 20 points followed by Ishfaque with 13 points.

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