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Iran coach: I told my players to enjoy the moment and the victory came

Coach Julio Velasco enjoyed his victory in Havana

 Havana, Cuba, July 5, 2013 – Iran beat Cuba in five sets (24-26, 19-25, 25-19, 25-22, 16-14) in a thrilling match at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum in Havana on Friday.

Argentinean Julio Velasco, coach of Iran, was very pleased with his players’ dramatic comeback: “It was a tough game, as we expected. We could barely defend ourselves from Cuba’s attack in the first half, but we recovered step by step. I think this match was a huge experience for both teams. I told my players they will face a legendary team so they had to enjoy the moment. They were nervous at first, but they got loose and won a match that will inspire them a lot. This victory was an injection of confidence.”

Cuban attacker Rolando Cepeda believes his team lost the match in the third set: “We tied the score, but we didn’t make the most of the moment. It was more of the same in the fourth set. I felt powerful tonight, but I got very tired in the tie-break. Iran is a strong team. They never gave up and fought bravely. I believe we will play better tomorrow; our fans deserve it.”

Cuba coach Orlando Samuels praised Iran’s game: “We both played very hard, but we failed to score the final points. I think we lost because of our poor receiving. We couldn’t get the ball closer to the net. We couldn’t combine our attack, as they did.”

Iran captain Saeid Marouflakrani said it was great being in Cuba and beating one of the world most famous teams: “We focused on stopping Cepeda and everyone helped on defence. We worked as a team, and that’s something very important.”

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