Uruomieh, Iran, August 3, 2010 – Asian Men's Cup Volleyball Championship hosts Iran came from behind to beat pool rivals China 3-2 to become the only team to remain unbeaten and finish top of Pool A while Kazakhstan delivered Korean their first defeat of the tournament in Pool A on Tuesday.
Iran captain Ali Reza Nadi blocks spiking from China's Cui Jianjun in their final pool match
On the final day of the group round-robin preliminaries, defending champions Iran edged powerful China 3-2 (24-26, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 19-17) and India beat Chinese Taipei 3-1 (22-25, 33-31, 25-18, 25-20) in Pool A while Australia downed Japan 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-22) and Kazakhstan upset Korea 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 13-25, 25-23) in Pool B.
Participating in the event are the top eight finishers from the 2009 Asia Championship in Manila, Philippines, however Indonesia withdrew from the cup event at the last moment being replaced by India.
India, current world No. 46 and ninth place finisher at the last Asian Championships, came back from a first set deficit to outclass Chinese Taipei in an exciting Volleyball show. After conceding the first set, India got their act together and bounced back, unleashing a barrage of spikes with their height and power advantage, which caught the Chinese Taipei flat-footed several times, and took the next three sets and also the match, their first victory in the preliminary round.
The day’s final match was more thrilling as defending champions and world No. 18 Iran and world No. 10 China vied for top spot in Pool A. In the clash of the two unbeaten teams Iran stunned China with a dramatic come-from-behind five-set triumph.
Despite shouting and cheering from 7,500 spectators, China kept up the pressure on the host team with powerful spiking, effective blocking and defence which caught often caught out the Iranian players as China took the first two sets. However, Iran dramatically improved their tactics and staged a number of exceltpional counter-attacks to make amends by clinching the third set before using their rhythm to finish the match.
Winless Japan went on search for their first win in their last preliminary round match but Australia denied them the victory by taking the match in straight sets with hard-hitting attacking and blocking. For the Aussies, it was a sweet revenge over Japan as they went down to Japan in five sets at the first Asian Men’s Cup two years ago when Japan finished fourth and Australia placed fifth.
The match between Kazakhstan and Korea was also thrilling. Kazakhstan, one of the pretenders to the Asian Men’s Cup, showed a solid attack and perfect blocks in the first two sets. Korea players recuperated their consciousness and came back to control the game in the third set. It seemed the Kazak players were on their last legs, but it was not the end for the side as they saw out the fourth set and the match.
Wednesday is a rest day before the competition resumes on Thursday with the quarter-finals where Iran take on Japan, China play against Kazakhstan, Korea meet India and Australia take on Chinese Taipei.
Team ranking after group round-robin preliminaries
1. IRI 3 3 0 6
2. CHN 3 2 1 5
3. IND 3 1 2 4
4. TPE 3 0 3 3
1. AUS 3 2 1 5
2. KOR 3 2 1 5
3. KAZ 3 2 1 5
4. JPN 3 0 3 3
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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