KOREA, QATAR AND TITLE-HOLDERS IRAN RECORD FIRST WINS AT AVC CUP FOR MEN
Taipei, Chinese Taipei, August 8, 2018 – Korea, Qatar and Iran registered their first wins at the 6th AVC Cup for Men at the University of Taipei (Tianmu) Gymnasium here on Wednesday, with the Koreans producing an epic 3-2 comeback win over Japan and the Iranians stunning hosts Chinese Taipei in dramatic four-setter.
The biennial competition is being held from August 8 to 15, three days ahead of the official kickoff of the volleyball competition in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia. Nine teams are taking part in this tournament, vying for the top honour. Kazakhstan, Japan and Korea are in Pool A. Pool B comprises Australia, Iran and Chinese Taipei, with Thailand, Qatar and Vietnam in Pool C.
Japan, defending and successive two-time Asian champions, sent a combined university team this time and Korea also did likewise, while Iran are represented by young stars, many of them joined the world U19 title-winning squad, led by Amirhossein Esfandiar, Tehran Feyzemamdoust and Porya Yali.
The opening encounter between Korea and Japan saw the former, spearheaded by hard-hitting Han Kukmin and Heo Subong, recover from the first set down to capture the hard-fought five-set thriller 20-25 25-19 25-23 23-25 19-17.
The star of the Korean side was Han Kukmin, who chipped in with 22 attack points from 46 attempts, while Kenta Takanashi led Japan with 19 points including 16 kills from 45 attempts and 2 efficient blocks.
Qatar also got the top-tier competition off to a winning start by thrashing Vietnam in thrilling straight sets 25-20 25-19 25-23, while defending champions Iran played a tough match against Chinese Taipei to pull off a stunning four-set win 25-23 14-25 25-21 25-23 over the host side. Captain Amirhossein Esfandiar, who won the Best Opposite Player and MVP awards at the last year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s U19 World Championship in Bahrain, played for Iran only in the first set before being replaced by a player from the bench. Porya Yali scored a match-high 23 points, 21 of which from attack hits from 36 attempts.
On Thursday, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Australia will play their first matches in the eight-day tournament. Kazakhstan take on Japan, while Thailand challenge Qatar and Iran play Australia.
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