Day 5 Wrap Up
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, August 12, 2022 – Unbeaten China, Japan and Bahrain cruised to comfortable victories for well-earned semifinal berths in the 2022 AVC Cup for Men at the Nakhon Pathom Provincial Gymnasium as the Korea’s fantastic comeback to stun Australia in epic tie-breaker constituted the highlight of the day’s action-packed encounters on Friday.
In their last matches of the round of the last eight teams in Pool E, formidable Japan sealed a dominant 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-11) victory against hosts Thailand, while China, which have yet lost a single match to their respective rivals, pulled off a dramatic 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-16) win against Iran, and Bahrain, making their debut effort in the AVC Cup for Men, faced no issues in shutting out Pakistan in convincing straight sets 25-18, 27-25, 25-20 in Pool F.
Japan attack Thailand
China celebrate their 3-1 victory against Iran
However, the other Pool E clash between world No.33 Korea and world No.39 Australia saw the former go down to the well-established latter in the first two sets 20-25, 22-25, but stormed back in strong fashion to take the third and the fourth sets 25-20, 25-21, forcing a tie-breaker to determine the eventual winners and the last team to the semifinals.
The determined Aussies already had a disappointing campaign this year when they finished on the bottom 16th place at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League to suffer relegation and they also crashed out of the 2022 FIVB Challenger Cup at the hands of hosts Korea after losing 2-3 in the very first clash of the competitive tournament in Seoul.
However, with a great experience to their name and the excellent preparation, Australia had their sights firmly set on reviving their fortunes this time. Still, things turned sour for the spirited Volleyroos when the Koreans turned the tide on their opponents.
Both teams gave it all-out in the decider which turned out to be a see-saw battle. Leads moved back and forth until 19-19 when Heo Subong nailed a crucial spike for Korea. After that, Lim Sungjin hammered an overpass to put Korea ahead 20-19 before Kim Kyumin and Heo Subong successfully blocked a spike from Nicholas Butler to end the Aussies’s challenge.
Korea won the hotly-contested set 21-19 and match and they jumped for joy to celebrate the hard-fought victory, while the Australians left the competition site with their heads low in disappointment.
At the end of the round of last eight teams on Friday, Japan were on top of Pool E with 7 points from 2 wins against one loss, followed by Korea with 5 points from 2 wins against one loss. Australia and hosts Thailand finished third and fourth places with 4 and 2 points respectively with the similar one win against 2 losses.
In Pool F, China maintained their top spot with 9 points from three straight wins, while Bahrain came in second place with 6 points from 2 wins against one loss. Iran, fielding their U20 squad in preparation for the forthcoming Asian Men’s U20 Championship in Bahrain, bagged 3 points from one win against two losses to finish third and winless Pakistan finished fourth.
On Saturday, the penultimate day of the eight-day tournament, Korea will go up against China and Japan take on Bahrain in the do-or-die semifinals, while the 5th-8th playoff matches see Thailand play Iran and Pakistan challenge Australia.
Meanwhile, the classification round for 9th-11th places between Chinese Taipei and India at the Sport Complex within Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin at neighbouring Salaya District saw the former too strong to brush off the latter in comfortable straight sets 25-22, 25-18, 25-14.
India had already completed their campaign in the tournament with a 1-1 win/loss record. They beat Hong Kong, China 3-1 on Thursday. Chinese Taipei are due to take on Hong Kong, China in their last encounter on Saturday.
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