Tehran, Iran, May 16, 2022 – Peykan and Shahdab maintained their unbeaten run on the third day of the 2022 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship to emerge as Pool A and Pool B winners at the end of the pool round-robin preliminaries on Monday, as action-packed knockout stage in the quarterfinals resumes on Wednesday.

Favourite teams ominously stamped their authority in the preliminaries as they surged away to win their matches in strong fashion at Azadi Hall here on Monday, while lower-ranked sides also went for everything in the race for a place in their respective pools.

Peykan, in their 12th presence in the Asian Club Championship with seven gold, two silver, and two bronze medals in previous editions to their name, celebrated another feat on Monday as they rallied past Nakhon Ratchasima QminC from Thailand in dramatic four-setter 25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 25-13 in Pool A.

“We had two goals today that we could get. The first one was victory that was gained and the second was to give rest to our main players to save their energy for the next round. In the first two sets, my players did not perform as I was expecting from them. In the first set, they let the rivals get closer. In the second set, Thailand played much better particularly on their receptions. In the final two sets, they met my expectations and they played very well. I am satisfied with them and I am happy that I could give the bench players to participate in this game,” Peykan head coach Peyman Akbari commented.     

In the other Pool A encounter, Suntory Sunbirds, winners in the Japan V.League Division 1 and spearheaded by Olympian Dimitriy Muserskiy, made amends for the 1-3 disappointing loss to Peykan on the second day by cruising to a convincing straight-set 25-17, 25-23, 25-21 victory against South Gas from Iraq for their second win in this topnotch Championship to place second in Pool A after Peykan.

“Today’s show was much better than our previous games and we had a better performance compared to the games against Peykan and Nakhon Ratchasima. Hopefully, we made less mistakes. From 2013 until now, I participated in 7 editions of the club championship but this one is the hard one and toughest of all. It is an honor for our players to play against big names such as Ngapeth, Muserskiy because we have only seen these players on TV, but now we can play against them” said Alaa Khalaf, head coach of South Gas.

“So far it has been a good and hard game for us and when we participated in this competition, we knew we were not a strong team in Asia, but it is an honor and a good experience to play against the teams of this level. I gave the other members of the team to be ready so that they can help the team in the future. In any case, the high speed and strength of our team can be the strength of our team and we should be ready to face the teams with our own tactics no matter who they are and we rely on our capabilities and tactics”, Kota Yamamura head coach of Suntory Sunbirds commented after the match.

Concerning Leonaldo Kalvalho, the Brazilian assistant coach of the team, he added, “Leonardo plays an important role in the team, as organizing training and strategies. I appreciate all his contributions”.

Suntory Sunbirds are due to challenge Al-Rayyan in quarterfinals on Wednesday after the rest day, while South Gas as the fourth team of Pool A will take on M. Shahdab Yazd, the top team of Pool B.

The final match of the day in Pool B, Taraz VC, which won two matches against Al-Rayyan and Erbil, succumbed to their defeat to Shahdab Yazd from Iran in a thrilling four-set 25-16, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17.

Amin Esmaeilnezhad emerged as the top scorer of Shahdab Yazd after contributing 20 points including 14 attacks from 29 attempts, while Reza Abedini added 12 points. Vitaliy Vorivodin guided Taraz VC on the team’s losing effort.

After the match, Taraz’s head coach Russian Boris Gerbennikov said, “Some of our injured players who recovered back to the court were playing against Shahdab but they need time to find connection to the other players”.

Taraz VC are due to challenge Nakhon Ratchasima in their quarterfinal match on Wednesday.

Qatar League winners Al-Rayyan produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-17) victory against Erbil Sport Club for the first win in their third Pool B clash.

Erbil as the fourth team of Pool B will go up against Peykan of Tehran on Wednesday. Teams will rest on Tuesday and will continue their contest on Wednesday to determine the best four teams in the highly-anticipated semifinals.

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