Iran defeats Japan in straight sets in finale
Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2013 - Iran posted a straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-14) victory over Japan in the final match of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup on Sunday at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The result gave Iran a 3-2 mark, while Japan finished winless at 0-5.
The match marked the second meeting ever in the World Grand Champions Cup between the nations and sixth overall. Japan entered with a 5-1 alltime mark against Iran.
It was a disappointing showing for Japan, which won just one set (against the United States in their opening match) in the entire tournament.
Hamzeh Zarini and Shahram Mahmoudi shared top scoring honors for Iran with 16 points each.
Tatsuya Fukuzawa led Japan with nine points. Kunihiro Shimizu added eight in the loss.
Iran seized control of the match early in the first set with a fine display of passing and counterattack and dominated throughout.
Japan had difficulty dealing with speed and precision of the Iranian side.
Iran was excellent in reception throughout the contest.
Armin Tashakori's spike put Iran up 5-3 in the first set. Iran led 8-4 at the first TTO following a spike by Shahram Mahmoudi. Fukuzawa botched a serve reception and Iran was on top 10-4. Yoshihiko Matsumoto made a nice dink but Japan still trailed 12-5. It was 15-6 after Kunihiro Shimizu missed a spike. Iran led 16-6 after the second TTO.
Iran led 19-10 when Yuta Yoneyama connected on a spike. It was 20-13 after a reception error by Iran. A service ace by Yoneyama pulled Japan within six points at 21-15. A service ace by Mahmoudi gave Iran the set 25-17. Hamzeh Zarini had six points in the set.
Koshikawa missed a spike and Iran led 5-1 in the second set. A long rally went Iran's way after Shimizu fired a spike wide and it was 7-2. A block by Farhad Ghaemi put Iran in front 8-2 at the first TTO. Fukuzawa cut the deficit to four at 9-5 with a soaring spike. Ghaemi smashed a spike and Iran led 11-7. A block by Matsumoto made it 12-9. Zarini's spike put Iran up six at 15-9. Another Zarini spike gave Iran a 16-10 advantage at the second TTO.
Shimizu served into the net and the Iran lead was 18-12. Yamamura sent a serve long and the score was 20-14. Another error by the host nation made it 22-15 and Japan called a timeout. Zarini's spike put Iran two points from the set at 23-16. Yusuke Ishijima served into the net and Iran claimed the set 25-18.
A fine block by Ghaemi gave Iran a 5-4 lead in the third set. A spike by Mahmoudi put Iran ahead 8-6 at the first TTO. A block by Mahmoudi made it 10-7. Fukuzawa fired a spike long and Japan was in danger of losing contact as Iran led 12-8. Another Iran spike made it 16-10 at the second TTO.
Ghaemi blasted another spike and the margin was 19-12 for Iran. An Iran serve went into the net but Japan was still down seven at 20-13. Adel Gholami's spike took it to 21-13. Another Gholami spike it 22-14. A Japan return hit the antenna and it was match point for Iran at 24-14. Ghaemi ended it with a service ace at 25-14.