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Korea, Iran move on to Asian Senior Volleyball Championship finals

Korea beat China and Iran overcame Japan in the semifinals

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 5, 2013 – Korea and Iran are set to face off for the title of the 17th Asian Senior Volleyball Championship and a ticket to the FIVB Men's Grand Champions Cup. 

The finalists move on after Saturday's semifinals, in which defending champions, Iran, took a straight-set victory against Japan in the first semifinal of the day. In the second semifinal at Al Hamdan SC, China and Korea played the best match of the championship so far during a thrill-a-minute marathon lasting more than two hours and 20 minutes that ended in a a 3-2 win (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12).

The winning team will qualify for the FIVB Men's Grand Champions Cup in November, joining hosts Japan, Brazil, Russia, USA, and the team selected by the FIVB/JVA/NTA. 

In the first semi-final, the powerful Iranians, with impressive 334cm / 327cm average levels for the two-hand block/spike height ratio, fought off the determined challenge put up by Japan, which tried in vain to change the pace with fast tempo flank moves as a counter measure.

Iran beat the team, coached by Gary Sato, 25-19, 25-19 and 25-22 in impressive fashion.

Backed by more than 2,000 cheering fans, the defending champion and world championship qualifier, Iran found Japan worthy opponents point for the point in the middle stages of all the sets.

The blocking capabilities of the Iranian wall, led by Hamzeh Zarini, Adel Gholami and E. Seyed Mohammad Mousavi E., often caught Japan off guard.

Iranian setter and playmaker, skipper Mir Saeid Marouf L., kept the Japanese front-court men guessing throughout the match, with deceptive changes in the final pass.

The tournament will in likely nominate champion Iranian libero Frahad Zarif A.V. the best digger award. He played with such consistency and brilliance making play possible with receives and passing, and was always at hand to retrieve the most difficult of sudden deflections during the blocks. The player was Iran’s standout star among the others. when the Japanese threatened in short patches to upset the Iranian bombing rhythm.

Japan’s captain Kota Yamamura, Tatsuya Fukuzawa and Yoshihiko Matsumoto have great universal abilities and were put on test to the full against an opposition that never faltered at critical junctures.

“It will be another test," said Julio Velasco, Iran’s legendary Argentine head coach. "The teams from China and South Korea have varying approaches. Like (Saturday) against Japan there is going to be a stern test again in the final (Sunday).” 

“One thing I have enjoyed here is to see Japan fight hard to the last in every game win or lose," said Japan's head coach, Gary Sato. "The Iranian blocks have a set system to it, and we were not able to read and produce a counter for it. We failed to execute our game plan properly on a consistent basis.”

In the second semi-final, China, the runner-up of last edition, failed to make it to the finals, after losing to Korea in a five-set rally.

Korea's quickness and diversity, and China's height and blocking, allowed the game to begin closely, with only two points difference in the first three sets before China turbo-boosted to a 25-20 win in the fourth.

China were shown a yellow card by the first referee during a dispute when the score was tied at a nerve wrangling five in the fifth set. South Korea pulled ahead to 8-6 through three lightning-fast counter attacks.

China reduced the issue to 7-8 off a smash that was half blocked,

before the Koreans pushed ahead for a two-point cushion (9-7). The peninsular lads got one more point for 10-8.

Two points proved to be a big help for Korea when the reliable booming serve of Myunggeun Song failed for a 13-12 reading.

A long rally followed, keeping everyone in suspense before the Koreans walked off for a final berth at 15-12.

The penultimate day of the 17th Asian Senior Volleyball Championship featured a quite long rally with only two straight-set wins out of 10 matches.

In classification matches for 5-8 placings, which began one hour behind schedule, Thailand beat Lebanon 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 28-26) and Australia outplayed India 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 25-12).

Competition Schedule and Results

October 5th, 2013

At Hamdan Sports Complex:

10:00am         Afghanistan v Oman (19th-10th)  1-3 (25-18, 23-25, 17-25, 17-25)

12:00pm         Thailand v Lebanon (5th-8th)  3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 28-26)

14:00pm         Australia v India (5th-8th)  3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 25-12)

16:00pm         Japan v Iran (1st-4th)  0-3 (19-25, 16-25, 22-25)

18:30pm         Korea v China (1st-4th)  3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12)


At Al Nasr Club

10:00am         Myanmar v Kuwait (17th-18th)  0-3 (23-25, 23-25, 20-25)

12:00pm         Uzbekistan v Iraq (13th-16th)  2-3 (21-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 20-15)

14:00pm         Qatar v Kazakhstan (9th-12th)  1-3 (25-19, 17-25, 24-26, 22-25)

16:00pm         Bahrain v Chinese Taipei (9th-12th)  2-3 (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 13-15)

18:30pm         UAE v Sri Lanka (13th-16th)  3-2 (26-24, 13-25, 20-25, 29-27, 15-12)

October 6th, 2013 (Final day)

At Hamdan Sports Complex:

12:00pm         Lebanon v India (7th-8th)

14:00pm         Thailand v Australia (5th-6th)

16:00pm         Japan v China (3rd-4th)

18:30pm         Iran v Korea (1st-2nd)

At Al Nasr Club:

09:00am         Sri Lanka v Uzbekistan (15th-16th)

11:00am         Qatar v Bahrain (11th-12th)

13:00pm         Kazakhstan v Chinese Taipei (9th-10th)

15:00pm         UAE v Iraq (13th-14th



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