DAY 6 WRAPUP
Tehran, Iran, September 19, 2019 – Australia and Korea extend their remarkable invincibility at the 20th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship, with the former pitting their expertise against title-holders Japan and the latter testing their mettle against formidable Iran in do-or-die semi-finals at the 12,000-seater Azadi Sports Complex on Friday.
Hosts Iran captured a crucial win in the Thursday’s action-packed quarter-final encounter following an exceptional straight-set 25-19, 27-25, 25-21 over Chinese Taipei.
Prolific Amir Ghafour scored a match-high 14 points for Iran, while Liu Hung-Min led Chinese Taipei with 8 points.
Iran, the only Asian team contesting the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, set up a tough semi-final clash against Korea on Friday.
The irresistible Koreans survived an India’s scare to beat the formidable rivals in hard-fought four-setter 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21 in the Thursday’s quarter-final match.
Japan, nine-time Asian champions and world No.11, were also in superb form on Thursday as they rallied for an eye-catching 3-1 (25-23, 25-17,18-25, 25-22) triumph over China to next lock horns with undefeated Australia. The Volleyroos were forced to play exhausting five sets prior to shunning out Pakistan with epic tie-breaker win 21-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-14, 15-13 to punch their tickets to the semi-finals.
The four losers in the Thursday’s quarter-finals have been relegated to the classification round for 5th-8th places, with China taking on Pakistan and India strutting their stuff against Chinese Taipei on Friday.
Meanwhile, in the 9th-12th playoff matches on Thursday, the last year’s AVC Cup champions Qatar saw off Indonesia in thrilling three-setter 26-24, 25-17, 25-17 to next take on Kazakhstan, which survived to capture a tie-breaker 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 24-26, 15-12 victory over Thailand. Kazakhstan’s performance in Tehran this time will be a far cry from the silver medals they had achieved at the previous edition in Indonesia two years ago.
As Qatar and Kazakhstan will battle it out for the 9th position, Indonesia and Thailand will renew their rivalry in the 11th-12th playoff clash. In the 9th-16th playoff match earlier, Thailand edged past Indonesia 3-2 in a final rematch of the 2017 South East Asian Games in Malaysia.
In the 13th-16th playoffs, Oman saw off Hong Kong China in convincing straight sets 25-21, 25-20, 25-17 to celebrate their first win in this top-tier championship. Sri Lanka, fresh from two consecutive victories, made it three in a row on Thursday following their impressive 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-18) win against Kuwait, the only team with no winning record.
In the 13th-14th playoff match on Friday, Sri Lanka will take on Oman, the team they had already beaten 3-1 in the 9th-16th playoffs, while Kuwait and Hong Kong China set up a rematch to vie for the 15th position. In the 9th-16th playoff match earlier, Hong Kong China had beaten Kuwait 3-1.
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