Bangkok, Thailand, November 27, 2022 – Asian powerhouses Iran put it past Sri Lanka in straight sets to stay unbeaten in the Engro Central Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship at Punjab Sports Hall in Lahore, the Pakistan’s second most populous city, on Saturday.
Current world No.10 Iran, which finished 7th at this year’s Volleyball Nations League and 13th at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Poland and Slovenia, had already opened their account with 3 points following a comfortable straight-set win against Afghanistan in their first clash on November 24.
Against the Sri Lankans, Iran fielded a strong lineup including Amir Mohammad Golzadeh, who steered Iran to 3-1 win against India in the final showdown for the 21st Asian Men’s U20 Championship title in Riffa, Bahrain and landed two individual awards in that topflight championship – Best Opposite Hitter and MVP, and Poriya Hossein Khanzadeh Firouzjah, who joined M. Shahdab Yazd Club to finish second in this year’s Asian Men’s Club Championship.
Terrific Lasindu Wasanthapriya, who scored a match-high 41 points in the previous match against Bangladesh, spearheaded Sri Lanka in this daunting match against the Iranians.
Iran cruised comfortably through the first two sets, but Sri Lanka, which claimed their best-ever 8th in the Iran-hosted 2011 Asian Championship, bounced back mightily in the third set, with Lasindu attacking powerfully and blocking solidly. However, Iran remained in particularly on good form to win the hotly-contested third set 29-27 and their second win.
Poriya Hossein Khanzadeh Firouzjah chipped in with 22 points for Iran including 15 attacks and team-leading 5 blocks. Amir Mohammad Golzadeh and Mahdi Jelveh Ghaziani kept good company to add 15 and 14 points respectively. Lasindu Wasanthapriya led Sri Lanka with 19 points including 16 attacks and team-leading 3 blocks.
In the second match, Bangladesh, which lost their first two matches at the hands of hosts Pakistan and Sri Lanka, gained a stranglehold over their tough match against Afghanistan to produce comeback 3-1 (25-27, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20) win for their unprecedented victory in this championship.
MD Sujon and Horosit Biswas handed Bangladesh 15 points apiece, with Mohammad Sabawoon Wardak topscoring with 28 points for Afghanistan including 21 attacks and team-leading 5 blocks.
After three days, Ian stayed atop the five-team standing with 6 points from two wins in a row and without dropping a set to their respective rivals, followed by hosts Pakistan with similar 6 points from two wins in a row.
Bangladesh are trailing in third place with 4 points from one win against two losses, with Sri Lanka in fourth position with 2 points from one win against two losses. Winless Afghanistan lost three straight matches to trail in fifth place.
On Sunday, Sri Lanka take on hosts Pakistan, while Bangladesh go up against unbeaten Iran in the round-robin competition. Afghanistan have a rest day.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohamed Latheef, President of Central Asian Volleyball Association (CAVA), arrived in Lahore to witness the championship.
MATCH RESULTS AND STANDING
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