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Qatar, Taipei complete final eight at Asian U20 champs

Bahrain coach Ali Ridha and captain Mahmood Yusuf discuss tactics during their win over Thailand which saw them top their Pool
Manama, Bahrain, October 22, 2014 - Qatar and Chinese Taipei both picked up vital wins to complete the quarterfinal line-up at the 17th Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship in Manama, Bahrain on Tuesday.

The top two teams from the tournament will qualify for the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship taking place next year.

Saudi Arabia d Maldives 3-0 (27-25, 25-15, 25-18)
Saudi Arabia looked a broken team after its five-set loss to Thailand 24 hours earlier and coach Georgi Petrov decided to give more court time to players who hadn’t seen much action in the tournament.

The move nearly backfired however and they nearly went down in their opening set to the Maldives, falling behind 22-24. But the team clawed back to take the set.

“Today was very difficult for us psychologically, because the game we lost yesterday was very important for us,” Petrov said. “Today it was difficult to play against ourselves than our opponent. I tried to get my team to play all their games at one level, with their heart, with emotion and to enjoy the game.”

Maldives team manager Abdulla Rasheed said their game fell away after the brilliant opening set.

“We are very much happier, for the first set of course. But sets two and three, we are not very happy,” he said. “They have gained confidence. I can assure you the next two matches they are going to make a difference. 

“We knew even before that the other teams would be taller than us. We trained for that.”

Iran d India 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-23)
So clinical was Iran in its 3-0 win over India even coach Nafarzadeh Farhad couldn’t hide his admiration.

“For the first time we had 12 players, and that was very good for psychology,” he said.

“I am happy now, my team is complete and my players are complete,” he said. “Day by day we must be better in our working and our preparation.

“India, Iran and Qatar in one group made for a bad situation, because one team had to be eliminated and that is bad for sports growth.”

The loss meant India failed to make it through to the final eight and coach Yadav Singh blamed a lack of focus on his side’s downfall.

“Our team could not play, because our libero and one attacker could not play, they missed several passes,” he said. “Because they lost yesterday they were not ready to play today because of no confidence.

“Out of 12 players seven were competing in an international competition for first time. Iran is a good Asian team so they have good psychological pressure.”

Japan d Uzbekistan 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-16)
Japan were workmanlike in beating Uzbekistan 3-0 to keep their perfect record intact.

Coach Shingo Sakai isn’t worried his team haven’t been tested going into the quarterfinals.

“I am satisfied to have finished in first place [in the pool],” he said. “In today’s match there were some mistakes, so we will modify those mistakes tomorrow. Our true style is to be good receivers, and I think that will come in the next game.”

Uzbekistan captain Islomjon Sobirov said his team had set goals for the match.

“We had hoped to win a set,” he said. “We will now just have to focus on the next match.”

Coach Gennadiy Ponomarev added that his team were below there best.

“We didn’t play tonight,” he said. “When we play, we can be good, but we didn’t play tonight. We have a day off now so I will look at the mistakes and hopefully we will do better.”

Chinese Taipei d Kuwait 3-0 (25-14, 25-6, 25-17)
Chinese Taipei illustrated that it would not simply be making up the numbers in the top eight with a ruthless display against Kuwait.

The Taipei side is flying under the radar in Bahrain, and after losing 3-0 to Japan many people discounted their chances of causing waves.

But their form in the past two matches has been impressive, and its second set 25-6 win over Kuwait was clinical.

Kuwait is still looking to win a set in Bahrain.

Qatar d Hong Kong 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-16)
Qatar continues to impress, this time overcoming Hong Kong in three sets.

Qatar coach Sattler Tine seemed satisfied with his teams performance throughout the tournament so far. 

“I was serious when I said we wanted to become a ranking team,” he said. “We are happy to make the top eight, and now we must try and make top four. But there are very many good teams here.”

Hong Kong has had a baptism of fire on its return to the competition after an 18 year absence.

Drawn in undoubtedly the toughest group in Bahrain, the tiny island country has impressed many although they are yet to win a match.

Coach Chun Kuen Alber Ngai said the experience has been invaluable for his team.

“I’m so proud that my students, my players, didn’t give up and treasured every single point.

“I agree our group is a little bit tough, our goal is to try and gain more experience and learn from strong teams like Qatar.

Although we didn’t win any games in this group, we did achieve our other goal.”

China d Sri Lanka 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-16)
China survived a big scare in the first set to post a 3-0 win over a much improved Sri Lankan team.

It was a good work out for a Chinese team many are predicting will go all the way in Bahrain, one better than their silver medal two years ago.

Coach Genyin Ju believes his team needs to improve further.

“Sri Lanka is not very tall but their skill is good,” he said. “I’m not satisfied with our performance. In the first set when we needed to score we could not. Our team is not experienced, it is very young.”

Two years ago Sri Lanka played China and was thrashed and coach Jayasekara believes there are exciting times ahead for his team after showing an improvement on Tuesday.

“I told my players to play a good game, because we need this experience,” he said. “My players played extremely well today, they put up a good fight. We had a set point, and one small mistake and we lost the set.

“My players don’t give up the game at any time.”

Bahrain d Thailand 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24)
Bahrain and Thailand had already guaranteed their place in top eight, but both were desperate to finish top of the pool to avoid a possible match up with one of the ‘big three’.

They played accordingly, in a match high on energy and emotion. Thailand jumped out early, but as the match wore on Thailand coach Prasert Tangmuang saw his team tire.

“Yesterday my team played five sets, and it made my players weak today,” he said. “Today my players were competitive, but it depended on timing and Bahrain played very well.

“We wanted to win to finish top. If you finish second you play China, Iran or Japan.”

Bahrain finishes with three wins from three starts, and is rewarded with a safer passage in the quarterfinals.

“We don’t want to play Japan, China or Iran, so we wanted to win today,” coach Ali Ridha said. “We won 3-1, and they were good close sets, so it was good practice for us before we play Korea, Chinese Taipei or Qatar.

“I think the players have more experience now, and the spectators are not full. Maybe after tomorrow it will be full, but no pressure for my players.”


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