Manama, Bahrain, May 18, 2023 – The towering Canberra Heat of Australia came out in full force to stun Thailand’s Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force in hard-fought four-set thriller 28-26, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 in their first classification match for 9th-16th places to bag their first win in the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at Issa Bin Rashed Hall 1 on Thursday.
The Aussies took command in the first set, thanks to their combination attacks and solid blocks. Diamond Food gradually pulled their game together, attempting to catch up with the Australian exceptional tactics. However, the formidable Thai’s efforts did not pay off dividends as the Aussies heightened their defence, allowing the tough rivals attacking difficulty. Canberra Heat clinched the set 25-19.
Both sides were locked into a tight contest in the second set which saw the scores tied at 11-11. Nevertheless, the Thais proved their superiority, with ace spiker Evandro De Souza puncturing the Australian defence with powerful spikes. The on-going battle was more thrilling as the leads changed hands several times. Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force proved steadier to claim the thrilling second set 25-21.
The rhythm was with the Australians when they got off strongly to lead with a three-point clear at 8-5 in the third set. Diamond Food tried to regain their composure and their intention was almost fruitful when they leveled it at 22-22. Still, Canberra Heat proved how far they had come as they continued their dazzling form to foil the rivals’ attempts to win the hotly-contested set 25-23.
The fourth set briefly turned out to be one-way traffic when Canberra Heat gained the upper hand to take an initial 8-5 lead and extended it 18-15. Despite putting up a brave fight, the determined Thais found Canberra Heat a tough nut to crack and uncatchable. The Aussies captured the set 25-22.
Matthew Aubrey contributed 25 points for Canberra Heat, while Brazilian Evandro De Souza scored a match-high 31 points for Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force including 30 attacks.
Canberra Heat will next take on Khaypil Sports Club of Yemen, while Diamond Food will go up against Al-Ahli of Bahrain for their second match in the 9th-16th playoffs.
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