Iran keep title hopes alive at Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball

April 2, 2017 - 19:37

Reigning champions Iran pulled off a hard-fought 26-24 25-19 27-25 win over Chinese Taipei to complete their Pool F playoffs campaign in the round of the last eight teams in third place at the SMM 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium Hall B on Sunday.

Iran, pursuing dreams of winning their eighth title in the biennial tournament, overcame a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei in the opening set, making use of devastating attacks from Morteza Sharifi, who scored 25 points in the Iran’s previous match against China, and Ali Tabari to take the hotly-contested set 26-24.

Chinese Taipei upped their tempo and hit back in the second set, but Iran continued their onslaughts to snare the set 25-19. Conceding two sets in a row, the Taiwanese side gave it all out in the third set and their determination bore fruits when they took a commanding 18-16 lead before stretching it to 24-23, but they just let the set win slip through their fingers. Iran roared back to catch up with the fighting rivals 25-25 and hold their nerves to win the remaining two points for the set win 27-25 and match.

Morteza Sharifi led Iran with 16 points including 15 kills. Ali Tabari contributed 12 points through his attack hits. Kan Ming-Hsiu topscored with 10 points for Chinese Taipei.

After the match, Iran’s head coach Mohammad Vakili said, “Chinese Taipei are a strong team with experienced players. They have motivation, skills and good reception the other teams can’t underestimate. So, it’s a very difficult job for us to play them. We lost to China on Saturday and we have to beat Chinese Taipei. To do that, we have to analyze Chinese Taipei carefully and we knew what we have to do. In the third set, Chinese Taipei tried us to beat us, but we shattered their hopes. However, we need great experience to do that because we fell behind by five points. Fortunately, we learn how to handle such situation, coming from behind to win the set. It’s possible that we will take on Thailand in the quarter-finals, but I think Chinese Taipei are stronger than Thailand. We beat Chinese Taipei, so why we can’t beat Thailand. To qualify for the World Championship, we have to beat Thailand on Monday.”


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