Tehran, Iran, September 14, 2019 – Defending and successive two-time champions Japan proved too strong for Thailand to pull off a straight-set 25-19, 25-20, 25-13 win for two in a row at the SMM 20th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the 12,000-seater Azadi Sports Complex on Saturday.
Japan, which powered past Kazakhstan 3-1 in the final showdown of the previous edition in Indonesia two years ago, came up in full strength in this match against Thailand. Making use of the splendid offensive combination of Yuki Ishijawa and Yuji Nishida, both of them chipped in with huge spikes, Japan faced no issues in shutting out the lower-ranked rivals.
With the victory over Thailand, Japan remained unbeaten in Pool B and Chinese Taipei also did likewise. The two unbeaten teams will now battle it out on Sunday to decide the Pool B winners. However, Japan and Chinese Taipei, which bagged two straight wins including the Saturday’s 3-0 (25-11 25-10 25-17) triumph over Hong Kong China, are assured of securing their berths in the top 8 teams.
Yuji Nishida topscored with 15 points for Japan including 10 attacks, while Jakkapong Tongklang led Thailand with 13 points.
Japan head coach Yuichi Nakagaichi commented after the match, “This championship is a stepping stone for teams to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 and our players are now in preparation for the Olympics. We played with more concentration and as I said before, we used a different arrangement not to test them but because this is our team strategy.”
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