Bangkok, Thailand, July 24, 2021 – Asian winners Iran recovered from one set down to beat defending and consecutive two-time world champions Poland in hard-fought five-set thriller in their highly-anticipated Pool A clash in the Tokyo 2020 volleyball tournament at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.
Iran lost the first set 18-25, but came back to beat the Poles 25-22, 25-22 in the next two sets. Poland surged away to win the fourth set 25-22 for a 2-2 tie, forcing the tie-breaker to determine the eventual winners in this competitive match. The decider remained a see-saw battle which finally ended closely-contested 23-21 in favour of the Asian side. For Iran, it was a sweet revenge against Poland for the disappointing 0-3 loss in the fifth week of the recent Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
Amir Ghafour topscored with 17 points for Iran, while Meisam Salehi and Milad Ebadipour Ghara H. added 15 and 13 points respectively. Wilfredo Leon Venero scored a match-high 20 points in Poland’s losing efforts.
“I am so happy we were able to win this tough match. I think our fans would still be proud of us even if we lost this match, because they know we gave it our all in this match,” Ghafour said.
“It was a pressure point and we are always put in many situations like this, but I think it was our good system of blocking and defending that helped us today,” Ebadipour said.
“Both teams played a really amazing game, but I think we grabbed that chance to win this time.”
In this match, Poland, current world No.2 and silver medallists at the 2021 VNL, fared better with 62 attacks and 7 aces. Producing 58 attack hits and 4 aces, the Asian powerhouses came up with 11 blocks and also had the advantage on the opponent error with 40.
Iran are due to next take on Venezuela, which succumbed to 0-3 defeat to hosts Japan, in the first match on Monday, while Poland will play Italy, which registered their first win in Tokyo after stunning 3-2 win against Canada on Saturday,
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