Guimarães, Portugal, June 30, 2013 – In its
Pool C match at the Mutiusos de Guimaraes stadium in Portugal, Japan won against
the home team 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 28-30, 25-22, 15-10).
Portugal was severely penalised by Andre Lopes injury in the second set, mainly at the reception level, but equally in terms of spirit. On the contrary, Japan gained confidence to take its third victory in the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League’s Pool C.
With 27 points Alexandre Ferreira from Portugal was the best scorer of the match, but confessed at the end that ‘the team lacked some confidence’ in front of a ‘very strong team in the sideout’. Next weekend, Portugal will welcome Korea, while Japan will host matches against Canada.
Aiming to turn around its defeat in Saturday’s match, Japan started the first set strongly and arrived at the first technical time out with a two point advantage, with the last points (block and attack) being scored by their captain Kota Yamamura.
Portugal responded well, with two consecutive blocks to tie the score and another two consecutive points from Alexandre Ferreira in the attack to take the lead 10-9. Gary Sato’s team reacted well and Daisule Yako helped Japan lead the scoreboard (12-11). Portugal, however, moved ahead at the second technical timeout with an attack from Valdir Sequeira. An attack from Alexandre Ferreira, another from Marcel Gil and an ace from Tiago Violas took Portugal to a score of 24-22 and then the individual block from Andre Lopes closed the set with a score of 25-22.
Portugal entered the second set unexpectedly nervous and Japan saw the opportunity to take point after point with their persistency in the attack and efficacy of their high and low defence. However, Andre Lopes placed Portugal once again in a strong position with a block, taking the score to 17-19 and then Violas ensuring the score was tied at 20. With more calm and patience, Japan was initially in a good position to win the set with a score of 24-21 but not before Joao Jose took the score to 23-24 with his block. However, Tatsuya Fukuzawa eventually closed the set for Japan with a score of 25-23.
In the third set, J. Jose broke the existing balance with an ace (7-5) and Portugal was able to arrive at the first technical time out with an attack from their setter Pinheiro. In an instant, the home team built a four point advantage that Gary Sato tried to stop by asking for a time-out. An ace (13-7) from Alexandre Ferreira put in evidence the difficulties experienced by Japan in its match against Portugal taking the score to 15-9. Nevertheless, Japan did not give up and recovered 17-17.
With two blocks from Ricardo Silva and J. Jose, Portugal was granted a precious advantage (23-20). With a block from the Japanese that had five chances to close the set, it was eventually Portugal that won with a score of 30-28.
During the fourth set Japan took an early lead (8-6, 11-8, 16-13). However, at the 22nd point an error in the attack from Japan turned the scoreboard back to16-16. A series of mistakes in the service and in the attack from the Portuguese offered an advantage to Japan with a score of 24-20. Portugal reacted with an ace from Violas and a block from J. Jose (22-24) but Yu Koshikawa closed the set by 25-22 scoring his 20th point in the match.
In the tie-break Japan took control of the match 4-0, 6-2, 8-4 and Fukuzawa scored 9-5, but Alex shortened the gap with two consecutive points in the attack 7-9. Nevertheless Japan was unstoppable 11-7, 12-8 and Fukuzawa scored the decisive point 13-9 that allowed Japan to maintain their advantage until the final score 15-10.
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