Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 29, 2016 – Unbeaten Bank Sarmayeh and Shanghai Golden Age set up a clash of the Titans, as a daunting task awaits Al-Arabi Sports Club when the Qataris will challenge Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza from Japan in the do-or-die semi-finals of the “SMM” 2016 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday.
Iran’s Bank Sarmayeh, which have yet lost a match in the top-flight tournament, pulled off a comfortable straight-set 25-18 25-16 25-18 victory over Vietnam’s Maseco TPHCM in the knock-out quarter-finals on Monday.
Fielding a formidable line-up consisting Shahram Mahmoudi, Milad Ebadipourgharah, Farhad Ghaemi, Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi Sayed, Ali Shafiei and Pole Lukasz Zygadlo, Bank Sarmayeh got off to a brilliant start with the first two-set 25-18 25-16 wins, thanks to their excellent teamwork including the solid blocks from Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi Seyed and Lukasz Zygodlo and thundering cross-court spikes by Ali Shafiei and Shahram Mahmoudi.
In the third set, the Iranians still gained the upper hand when they took an early 3-0 lead, courtesy of three consecutive ace serves by Ali Shafiei. Jalali Alireza, substituted to play in this set, proved well he was a major force for the Iranians to be reckoned with. He put Bank Sarmayeh in front 24-17. The Iranians allowed the Vietnamese side only one more point before Iranian setter Mehdi Mahdavi finished the set 25-18 and match with his spike down in the mid court to help Bank Sarmayeh secure a semi-final berth.
Ali Shafiei scored a team-high 13 points for Bank Sarmayeh, while Nguyen Trung Nam led Maseco TPHCM with 13 points, all of them from his devastating attack.
“I am very happy for our victory today. We would like to give more opportunity to the bench players to play and rest some key players. The next match is very important for us. We still don’t know which team we will meet in the semi-finals because we played the first match of the day. However, I expect a tough match out there. We will try to achieve our goal; that is to win this tournament,” said Iranian coach Mostafa Karkhaneh.
In the Tuesday’s semi-finals, Bank Sarmayeh are due to take on Shanghai Golden Age of China, which struggled hard to beat Altay VC from Kazakhstan in their quarter-final encounter in well–earned four sets 29-27 23-25 36-34 25-23 in exhausting 130 minutes.
Hungarian-born German Gyorgy Grozer scored a match-high 33 points for the Chinese team including 27 kills from 53 attempts. He also led the serve skill after producing four ace serves, while Maxim Michshenko tallied 24 points for Altay VC including 23 deadly spikes.
“We know before the match that we would have a tough match. We have played many games in a row and the time difference also posed a major problem to me.
Altay VC are a very good team with many good players. But the key to our victory is we tried not to make simple mistakes and tried to receive their services. I think we made one step better like in the last game. I am very happy for our team performance today. We came back from difficult situations to fight until the end. Congratulations to my team,” Shanghai Golden Age’s Grozer said.
Commenting on the prospect in their semi-final match against Bank Sarmayeh, he replied, “Of course it is going to be a very tough match after this game. I have to recover my body as soon as possible. The Iranian side are a very strong team and they have been regarded as the tournament favourites. However, anything can happen in sports. We will fight all-out and see what will happen,” he added.
Meanwhile, Al-Arabi Sports Club from Qatar, which claimed silver medal at the previous edition in Chinese Taipei last year, powered past Taiwan Power in thrilling four sets 25-18 19-25 25-12 25-18. Vissotto Neves Leandro, the former Brazil national team player whose team took silver medal at London 2012, led Al-Arabi Sports Club with 21 points including 20 attack hits from 39 attempts. He also had one stuff block, while Huang Chien Feng top scored with 15 points for Taiwan Power including 13 kills.
“This is a very tough match as we earlier expected. Taiwan Power are a good team. They played very fast and their techniques were very effective.We did our best to qualify to the semi-finals and we are successful. I am very happy for this win.
we next play Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza from Japan.They also have a good team with very good professional players.We will try to do our best to beat them,” said Qatari coach Lajnef Maaouia.
Japan’s Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza had an easy match against Asia World Club on Monday to thrash the host side in a one-sided battle 25-12 25-19 25-17 in just 65 minutes.
Croatia import Igor Omrcen emerged as the top scorer of Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza with 22 points including 17 kills and 3 solid blocks, while Aung Thu led Asia World Club with 15 points.
Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza’s Swedish head coach Anders Kristiansson commented after the match, “We had a very good preparation for that match. We had a good start and we put the host side in trouble with our good serves the whole match.They suffered on poor reception and that’s why we beat them easily. However, I think they still have some good quality. At the beginning of the third set, we also suffered on reception. We played with low energy without determination, but we came back on top at the end. Now we are very happy to advance to the semi-finals.”
In the 9th-12th playoffs at the Wunna Theikdi Hall C, Iraq’s Gas Al Janoob came back from one set down to beat Wing 46 Phitsanulok from Thailand in a hard-fought four-set thriller 24-26 25-23 29-27 25-15. In the other match between Indonesia’s Polri Samator and UAE’s Al Jazira Club, the latter did not show up at the competition venue. It has been confirmed later that Al Jazira Club had already returned to the UAE after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar on Friday.
In the semi-finals on Tuesday, undefeated Bank Sarmayeh face Shanghai Golden Age at 16.30 local time, with Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza pitted against Al-Arabi Sports Club at 19.00pm.
Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) b Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei) 3-1 (25-18 19-25 25-12 25-18)
Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) b Maseco TPHCM (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-18 25-18 25-18)
Shanghai Golden Age (China) b Altay VC (Kazakhstan) 3-1 (29-27 23-25 36-34 25-23)
Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan) b Asia World Club (Myanmar) 3-0 (25-12 25-19 25-17)
Gas Al Janoob (Iraq) b Wing 46-Phitsanulok (Thailand) 3-1 (24-26 25-23 29-27 25-15)
11.30am: Maseco TPHCM (Vietnam) v Altay VC (Kazakhstan)
14.00pm: Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei) v Asia World Club (Myanmar)
16.30pm: Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) v Shanghai Golden Age (China)
19.00pm: Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) v Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan)
14.00pm: 13TH-14TH: Malaysia v Hong Kong
16.30pm: 9TH-10TH: Al Janoob (Iraq) v Polri Samator (Indonesia)
19.00pm: 11TH-12TH: Wing 46-Phitsanulok (Thailand) v Al Jazira Club (UAE)