Ardabil, Iran, May 4, 2017 – In-form Thailand handed Chinese Taipei the first loss at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium on Thursday following their incredible comeback 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-12) victory over the Pool B winners.
Powerful attacks and well-placed serves from Lee Hsing-Kuo and great team-work particularly in defense have earned Chinese Taipei the first-set 25-19 win over Thailand.
Thailand regained their form and reduced unforced mistakes with an aim of taking the second set, but Chinese Taipei performed brilliantly to clinch the close set 25-22. With scintillating blocking and spectacular spiking, Thailand hit back gallantly in the third set to level the scores 5-5, but later dropped their rhythm to trail 8-10. From then, the Thai players seemed to play at their highest level to win the set in victorious style 25-20.
As a large crowd of the Iranian fans thronged into the stadium to watch the next match between Iran and Malaysia, they also boosted the Thailand morale. The Thais played consistently with confidence to capture the next two sets 25-20, 25-18.
Chinese Taipei regained their confidence and tried to stop the Thailand’s remarkable run in the deciding set. The Thai players led 8-6 at the first technical time-out and made the most of the opponents’ unforced errors. Fielding four substitutions with two time-outs, Thailand finally snared the set 15-12 and match.
Thailand’s head coach Monchai Supajirakul said after the match: “We had problems in the first balls and reception. However, with better substitutions, we could improve much better from the third sets onwards.”
Thailand will next face Kazakhstan on Friday. The Thai coach found the rivals not very strong and said “They are tall; yet, they are slow and, therefore, not too difficult to be beaten.”
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