Iran, Qatar and Kazakhstan remain unbeaten in Asian Men's Club Championship
In the classification round, Kaleh of Iran beat India’s Natural Gas Cooperation in straight sets (25-15, 25-14, 25-15). Al-Rayyan of Qatar defeated Toyoda Gosei Trefuef of Japan 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 25-20) and Almaty of Kazakhstan edged South Gas of Iraq 3-2 (18-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-21,19-17). Chinese Taipei fought back from their first set defeat to win against Liaoning of China and emerge as the Pool C winner in the preliminary round with a score of 3-1 (24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 26-24).
China’s defeat is the first upset so far in the Championship and Liaoning of China is considered one of the top favourite. In meeting the taller and stronger Liaoning, the Power of Chinese Taipei team showed their fighting spirit and defended their game excellently. In the second set they rallied to level the scores at 19 all taking the set 26-24. The set scores became one all. Chinese Taipei seemed even more relaxed encouraged by the win in the second set and tried their utmost to take the third and fourth set. Chinese Taipeo’s spiker Chen-Feng was the top scorer with a game high of 27 points. Wang Ming-Chun and captain Chen Chien-Chen each added 17 points.
China’s head coach Sui Shensheng said, “Our spike and block was not perfect today. our key opposite Yuan Zhi was tired and due to his old injury he could not perform well today. We could not stop spiker Huang Chen-Feng. So we lost the game.”
The match between Al-Rayyan of Qatar and Toyoda Gosei Trefuef of Japan was another exciting encounter, lasting 120 minutes with Qatar beating out Japan 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 25-20). In the first set, Qatar forged ahead immediately from the beginning with a 8-5 and 16-11 lead taking the set with a score of 25-18. The Qatar team won the first set easily but committed some mistakes in the second, which gave their rivals a chance to strike back and take the lead at the end of the set. Qatar fought back to take the third set 25-15 and then the fourth by 25-20.
Takayuki Yasuhara, coach of the Japanese team said, “We made many blocking errors. And Qatar’s players are taller than us. Our block could not stop their attacks. Besides, our reception was also bad. Qatar played better than us.”
“It was a good game and the team’s concentration and combination is important for me,” said Travica Liubumir coach of the Qatar team. “Japan is good team, but their average height is short. In my team all players are super. Today we performed our best game.”
Kazakhstan took two hours to beat Iraq 3-2 (18-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 19-17). Five players from Kazakhstan scored double figures. Vorivodin Vitaliy collected 19 points while Kadirkhanov Nodirkanno added 13, followed by Yudin Anton, Gorbatkov Dmitriy and Erdshtein Vitaly, each with 11 points.
Rafail Gilyazutdin, head coach of the Kazakh team, said “We were good in serving and defense. Iraq is a good team and their opposite and Libero are very good players.“
Abdulsattar lla, head coach of Iraq said, “As I said before my players are young and they committed some errors. Our reception had some difficulty. And the setter did not use my tactics in passing the ball to the attackers. We hope to beat Japan in the next game. Iran is the best team of this tournament. China is second team after Iran.”
Kaleh of Iran had no difficulty in beating India as Behrouz Ataei, head coach of Iran, said “We put more pressure on our opposite team and took control of the game. We had carried out a good analysis of previous matches played by India. Our main goal was to take the champion’s title and match by match by ensuring better quality in our play.”