Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2016 – Iran defeated their Asian rivals Japan 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday.
For Iran, it was a sweet revenge against the similar rivals as the Japanese last year stunned the Iranians in the final showdown of the Asian Senior Men’s Championship on their home soil to run away with the Asian title.
Seyed Mohammed Mousavi scored half of the total Iranian block output of 16. The talented middle blocker intimidated Japan’s key players Kunihiro Shimizu and Yuki Ishikawa particularly in the fourth set. Shahram Mamoudi likewise operated the Iranian offence and finished with 22 points, including 21 attacks and a block. Shimizu top scored again for Japan with 23 points, followed by Ishikawa, who scored 18 points.
Iran gained control of the tempo in the first set as their players were determined to contain strong Japanese hitters Shimizu and Ishikawa. The two Japanese hitters still managed to notch some points but their scoring efforts could not completely stage a comeback in the first set. Iran ruled the opening set 25-20. Japan responded with a victory in the second set, as Ishikawa and Shimizu got some scoring support from their team-mates. They secured the set at 25-19 with an excellent block.
Iran led again in the third frame but their setter Mir Saeid Marouflakrani started to feel the pressure and committed some errors that slowed their offence down. As Japan started to make a run before the second technical timeout, Iran regrouped and protected their lead. Iran further increased their lead as Marouf found his great rhythm back to set-up Mahmoudi and Mousavi on offence. Iran secured the set 25-22 for a 2-1 set-advantage. In the fourth set, Iran had some defensive lapses that allowed Japan to take the lead at 16-14. Japan still led at 20-17 but Iran managed to tie the game as Mousavi scored crucial blocks on Ishikawa. Japan became predictable, which made it easier for Mousavi to defend the net. Iran took set and match 27-25.