Tokyo, Japan, May 29, 2016 – Iran recovered to win the match from two sets down against Canada 3-2 (27-29, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 16-14) on the second day of the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.
Milad Ebadipour tallied 26 points to lead the Iranian offensive. Ebadipour had a solid stint at the flank and buried 25 attacks then helped out on defence with one block. His team-mate Amir Ghafour likewise contributed in their victory with 19 markers. Gavin Schmitt of Canada topped all scorers with 27 points.
Iran and Canada had a drawn-out exchange of points and errors that resulted to numerous deadlocks in the opening set. The two sides almost had an equal production on attacks, blocks and aces, and the only difference separating them was Iran’s two errors. Canada earned a one-point cushion from Schmitt’s attack then sealed the first set victory 29-27, as an Iranian spike went out of bounds. Canada imposed a punishing high block that intimidated the Iranian hitters to hold on to an 18-10 lead. Iran then scored a 5-0 run, including three service aces from Seyed Mohammad Mousavi, to cut down the Canadian lead to 18-15. Canada managed to regroup and a soft tip shot by Schmitt concluded the set 25-19.
Iran recovered from their losses in the first two sets and gave a more convincing performance that put them ahead in the third set 14-10. Iran maintained their four-point edge at the second technical timeout 16-12, then extended it to 20-13 as their blockers applied more pressure on the Canadian hitters. Canada staged a comeback to cut down the lead of Iran to just four at 23-19, but Shahram Mamoudi’s attack and Schmitt’s service error eventually sealed the victory for Iran in the third set 25-20. Iran came into the fourth set with the same intensity and protected their lead with the help of Ghafour and Ebadipour’s excellent offence. Iran were up by three points at 23-20 but extended their lead as Schmitt committed another service error. Mahmoudi secured the fourth set victory for Iran 25-21.
Iran led in the fifth set and a smart drop by captain Mir Saied Marouflakrani put them further ahead 8-6 at side change. Canada tried to keep up with the momentum of their opponents but Iran scored two important blocks in the final stretch to conclude set and match 16-14.