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Thailand, Indonesia secure berths in final round of SEA Zonal Men’s Qualification Tournament

Myanmar try to block an aggressive attack from Thailand's Jirayu Raksakaew
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, June 27, 2013 -- Hosts Thailand and Indonesia qualified for the 2014 FIVB World Championship Asian Zone final round after brushing off their respective rivals for two successive wins in the Southeast Asian Zonal Men’s Qualification Tournament on Thursday at Nakhon Pathom Sports Centre Gymnasium.

In a rematch of the 2012 South East Asian Games final showdown, Thailand and Indonesia will take on each other on Friday. However, although they have yet to play their final encounter in the three-day competition, both sides have already made the cut for the final round in September.

Indonesia struggled to beat Myanmar 3-2 and Thailand came back to outplay Vietnam 3-1 on their opening encounters on Wednesday. On the following day, Indonesia thrashed Vietnam in comfortable straight sets 25-18, 25-16, 25-19, while the host sides continued their unbeaten run to outclass Myanmar in straight sets 25-16, 25-15, 25-19.

After two days, Indonesia bagged five points and Thailand collected six points, while Myanmar had one point from the 3-2 loss to Indonesia and Vietnam remained empty-handed.

With only one match remaining for each team in the single round-robin meet, Thailand and Indonesia have ensured berths for the final round.

Myanmar could not stop Thailand’s onslaughts to go down tamely

Thailand, FIVB world ranked No.48 who finished an impressive fourth place at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou of China, started strongly, with hard-hitters Jirayu Raksakaew and Kittikun Sriutthawong puncturing the Myanmar’s defence with their exceptional attacks for the hosts to lead commandingly 13-9 in the opener.

The visitors tried to regain their composure, but still failed to make their mark. They had a poor first-ball reception and became prone with unforced attacking and serving errors. Thailand widened the gap to 18-11.

Powerful Aung Thu, who emerged as Myanmar’s top scorer in the previous match against Indonesia, remained a major force as he attacked devastatingly from all corners, but he alone could not do that much. Thailand stormed back heavily, with Kittikun producing a thundering midcourt spike to give the home side the comfortable first set 25-16 win.

Holding one set advantage, Thailand took command in the second set to lead 21-13, thanks to Jirayu’s spectacular spikes and solid blocking from Teerasak Nakprasong and Kittikun. As Thailand led 24-14 to need only more point to wrap up the set, Montri Vaenpradab saw his serve go to the net, giving Myanmar another chance to come back. However, the visitors just let that opportunity slip through their fingers when Ye Yint Tun also produced an erratic serve. Thailand took the second set 25-15.

In the third set, Thailand replaced their best players and instead fielded substitutions which included Kissada Nilsawai, Shotivat Tivsuwan, Yuranan Boudang and Nattapong Kesapan to beat Myanmar 25-19 and the match.

Jirayu Raksakaw and Aung Thu emerged as their team’s top scorer, with the former scoring 16 points for Thailand and the latter 13 points for Myanmar.

Thailand’s coach Monchai Suphajirakun commented after the match, “We next play Indonesia. It’s not easy to beat them. Indonesia played with varieties. They had fast spikes, aggressive attacks and powerful serves. Their tactics and techniques are totally different from Myanmar. To match them well, we have to go back and study their tapes. However, we will try to come up with good serves to foil their attacking efforts.

“Against them, we remain on the similar line-up. Kittikun is now in his top form, while Jirayu is another major force to be reckoned with. The other players in the team also performed well up to their standard. It should be a thrilling match against our old foes we beat in the showdown of the Southeast Asian Games on their home soil in Palembang two years ago,” he added.

In-form Indonesia sent Vietnam packing in easy encounter

After winning a hard-fought five-set match over Myanmar on the previous day, Indonesia, FIVB world ranked No.52, had a field day against Vietnam.

Indonesia fielded a full team in this crucial match. Mighty attacks from Agung Seganti and Ayip Rizal put Indonesia in front 10-7 initially. Vietnam challenged seriously from then on, with Nguyen Huu Ha producing great serves to help the team narrow the gap 11-12. However, with the greater experience, Indonesia, 10-time champions at the Southeast Asian Games, had no trouble capturing the first set 25-18.

The second set saw Indonesia replace Sigit Ardian with young star I Komang Suarnata and he became a nightmare for all blockers, attacking devastatingly from the back court. Indonesia took the set 25-16.

Vietnam maintained their poise in the third set, hoping to make amends for the loss in the first two sets. Still, they found the formidable rivals too strong. Indonesia continued their remarkable form, thanks to the excellent offensive mobility of deadly hits from Rizal and Agung Seganti and scintillating blockings by Rizal and I Putu Randu Wahyu. Indonesia clinched the set 25-19, the match and a final berth.

Agung Seganti led Indonesia with 12 points, while Nguyen Huu Ha scored a match-high nine points for Vietnam.

“I told everyone in my team to play a relaxed match against Vietnam and they followed my advice. At the same time, they also reduced the mistakes. That’s why we beat Vietnam easily,” said Indonesia’s head coach Djanu Tjahdjono.

“I’m very happy with my team’s win. We next take on Thailand. I dare say it’s not easy to play them. Thailand are very strong and everyone in their team played together for long time. We trained only three weeks. We had a lot of changes in my team. I Komang Suarnata is a new player joining our team and he has already proved he is a capable player we can rely with.

 “We played today better than the previous match, but our chance to beat Thailand is just 50-50. However, winning or losing, I’m happy that my team have already reached our initial target of winning a place for the final round.”  

Thursday’s results
Single round-robin matches
Indonesia b Vietnam 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-19)
Thailand b Myanmar 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-19)

Match schedule
Friday, June 28, 2013
3pm: Vietnam v Myanmar
5pm: Thailand v Indonesia


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