Ardabil, Iran, May 9, 2017 – Kazakhstan took the seventh place at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship with a magnificent come-from-behind 22-25, 25-11, 25-23, 20-25, 15-10 victory over Malaysia in the 7th-8th place playoff match at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
Denis Yechshenko produced scintillating blocks and became a major force of Kazakhstan, but the Malaysians held their nerves to snatch the thrilling first set 25-22. Kazakhstan counter-attacked well to win the second set 25-11. Both teams were determined to take the better position in this top-notch competition, but Kirill Gurin performed superbly to steer Kazakhstan to their 25-23 win in the third set.
The Malaysians never gave up easily and they had already gained popularity following their stunning win over Australia in their opening encounter on May 1. Captain Sim Jian Qin performed well to lift Malaysia the fourth-set win 25-20 for a 2-2 tie. Kazakhstan stormed back gallantly for a 15-10 in the decider.
Kazakhstan, which returned from the previous edition two years ago in Myanmar with their heads low in great despair following a distant 13th finish, improved their performance this time to finish 7th place overall. One of the weak points Kazakhstan have been suffering from competing international tournaments is that they lack analyzers as Kazakhstan’s head coach Oleg Kuznetsov said: “We have to play the first set to evaluate the match and will then implant our plans as we do not have the opportunity to analyze the teams in advance.”
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