Press release

Paykan, Almaty set up final showdown in Asian Men’s Club Championship

The eventual winners of the 2011 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship will travel to Doha, Qatar in October to take part in the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship

Palembang, Indonesia, July 29, 2011 – Reigning and consecutive five-time champions Paykan from Iran set up final showdown with archrivals Kazakhstan’s Almaty after beating Tang Dynasty of China in straight sets in the semifinals of the 2011 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on Friday.

The scintillating 25-21 25-21 25-17 victory in just over an hour set Paykan up for a repeat of the 2008 final against Almaty, the team they have already beaten in the earlier round-robin preliminaries in Pool B. Almaty beat Japan’s Sakai Blazers 3-1 (24-26, 25-23 25-16 25-21 in their semifinal.

The eventual winners of the tournament will travel to Doha, Qatar in October to take part in the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship.

Against the in-form Tang Dynasty, powered by the 2.08m-tall Dai Qingyao, the Iranians fielded a well-established starting line-up, all of them strongly-built and muscular including Zarini Hamzeh and Bazargarde Shalkohi.

Paykan came out in full force from the begining, with Bazargarde and Zarini producing a splendid offensive combination to unleash a series of spectacular spikes and the two towers, Bakhsheshi and Nadi Alireza, both 2m tall, establishing an impenetrate defence, allowing the Chinese difficulty of attacking opportunities.

After taking the thrilling opening set 25-21, Paykan powered on aggressively, with Bazargarde, Zarini and Bakhsheshi Hesam tearing the Chinese defence into shreds with their powerful cross-court spikes to clinch the second set with the similar margin 25-21.
The determined Iranians remained strong technically and tactically in the third set. Though putting up a fightback, Tang Dynasty found the fired-up rivals just too strong. Paykan captured the easy third set 25-17 and a final berth, their ninth final showdown in the Asian Club history.

Bazargarde Shalkohi scored the highest 16 points including 15 deadly spikes for Paykan, with Dai Qingyao collecting 11 points for Tang Dynasty.

Paykan next go up against the tall and towering Almaty, led by the 2.1m Anton Yudin. The Kazakh side on Friday survived a determined challenge from Japan’s Sakai Blazers, which came to the championship with only 10 players.

Captain Takeshi Kitajima became the backbone of the Blazers on Friday, spiking aggressively from all corners to help the Japanese edge the Kazakhs in the hard-fought first set 26-24.

Almaty regrouped and bounced back mightily to take the remaining three sets 25-23 25-16 25-21. Nariman Suleimenov bagged 27 crucial points for Almaty, with Kitajima topscoring 18 points for the Blazers.

In the 5th-8th classification round, hosts Bank Sumsel Babel of Indonesia performed superbly to pull off a stunning win over Qatar’s Al Rayyan, strengthened by three internationals including Serbian Konstantin Cupkovic. The host side thrashed the Qatari team in straight sets 25-23 26-24 25-16 to next take on Chang in the 5th-place play-off.

“It’s great to beat the much stronger team like Al Rayyan. We coped well with their height and power at the net. We have spirit and everyone did a good job. The win is no fluke,” team captain Andri Andri of Bank Sumsel Babel said in the press conference.
“We made too many mistakes. It’s a disappointing match. We came here with higher hopes in mind that we could play with our best. Last year, another Qatari team Al Arabi, played in the Asian Club and returned with the second place. Al Rayyan came this time, hoping to get better, but we failed make our mark,” team captain Osman Hasan Ojab from Al Rayyan commented.

“Surprisingly, we not only failed to make the cut for the semi-finals, but also lost our pride by playing in the seventh-place play-off instead. The Indonesians played very well in front of their home crowds. Congratulations them on their victory.”

Meanwhile, Chang from Thailand came from the first-set 23-25 down to Vietnam’s PTSC before roaring back with explosive spikes from Jirayu Raksakaew and Wanchai Tabwises to win the remaining three sets 25-16 25-17 25-18.

The clash between the Bank Sumsel Babel and Chang, both of which fielded all national players preparing for the 26th South East Asian (SEA) Games here in Palembang, will be the 2009 SEA Games final rematch. There in Vientiane, Laos, Indonesia played a hard-fought five-set thriller to beat Thailand to capture the SEA Games crown.

Earlier, in the classification round among lower-ranked teams, Myanmar’s Asia World Club produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-2 (27-29 25-23 29-31 27-25 15-9) victory over Talyp Sport from Turkmenistan. Asia World Club finished the ninth place, leaving Talyp Sport to return with the 10th position.

Like Asia World Club, Uzbektelecom from Uzbekistan also had the similar fortunes. They came back from the first-set loss to Afghanistan’s Etisalat to win the closely-contested 3-2 battle. The dramatic 21-25 25-22 21-25 25-11 15-11 victory handed Uzbektelecom the 11th place, while Etisalat returned with the 12th position.

On Saturday, Al Rayyan battle it out with PTSC for the 7th place, Chang take on Bank Sumsel Babel in the 5th-6th place play-off. Sakai Blazers and Tang Dynasty fight for the third position, with Almaty challenge Paykan for the eventual crown and a berth to contest the FIVB World Men’s Club Championship in Doha, Qatar during October 8 and 14.

Friday’s results
11th-12th play-off: Uzbektelecom (Uzbekistan) b Etisalat (Afghanistan) 3-2 (21-25 25-22 21-25 25-11 15-11)
9th-10th play-off: Asia World Club(Myanmar) b Talyp Sport (Turkenistan) 3-2 (27-29 25-23 29-31 27-25 15-9)
5th-8th classification round
Chang (Thailand) b PTSC (Vietnam) 3-1 (23-25 25-16 25-17 25-18)
Bank Sumsel Babel (Indonesia) b Al Rayyan SC (Qatar) 3-0 (25-23 26-24 25-16)
Semifinals: Almaty (Kazakhstan) b Sakai Blazers 3-1 (24-26 25-23 25-16 25-21)
Paykan (Iran) b Tang Dynasty (China) 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-17)

Match schedule, Saturday, July 30
13.00pm: PTSC (Vietnam) v Al Rayyan SC (Qatar)
15.00pm: Chang (Thailand) v Bank Sumsel Babel (Indonesia)
17.00pm: Sakai Blazers (Japan) v Tang Dynasty (China)
19.00pm: Almaty (Kazakhstan) v Paykan (Iran)


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