Ardabil, Iran, May 1, 2017 – Iran, led by ace spiker Amin Esmaeilnejad, who scored a match-high 17 points, pulled off a stunning straight-set 25-12, 29-27, 28-26 victory over Pakistan in their Pool A clash at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at Rezazadeh 6000-seat Hall packed by over 8000 fans.
Before the match, some music performers sang in local language and many foreign guests were impressed by such a large number of spectators on the opening day of the tournament. Then, everyone raised for the commemoration of the late Hossein Madani, the coach of Iran who hailed from Ardabil and had taken so many significant steps toward the development of volleyball in Iran.
Cichello, the new head coach of Iran’s U23 team, fielded Rahman Taghizadeh, Saeid Javaheri Tavana, Amin Esmaeilnejad, Javad Karimi, Sahand Allahverdian, and Salim Cheperli in the starting line-up.
Iran took the comfortable opening set 25-12, but Pakistan came back much stronger in the second set when they fought back bravely to tie at 17-17 and again 24-24. Iran called a time-out when they were trailing 24-25. The on-going game was hotly contested and Pakistan performed well to lead again 26-25. The Iranian fans could not stop supporting and finally Iran finished the close second set 29-27.
The General Secretary of IRIVF, and so many other high-ranked local officials watched the match on site. The breathtaking moments were repeated in the third set as well when Iran carried the support of Iranian fans to finish 28-26.
Amin Esmaeilnejad of Iran, the top scorer of the match, said: “We practised a lot longing for such a win to make people happy. The first match was tough but we could get over it”.
Iran’s head coach Cichello expressed his gratitude from the passion and excitement of Iranian fans and found the level of tournament so high witnessing some matches before like the loss of Australia. All he intends to do is “trying to earn the result”.
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