Ardabil, Iran, May 4, 2017 – Hosts and defending champions Iran maintained their remarkable unbeaten record as they managed to beat Malaysia 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21) at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
Iran started the match in an aggressive way as they always had a high-volume cheering whenever they scored a point. However, Malaysia coped well with the Iranian tactics and foiled the host side’s attacking attempts with fine blocks. Malaysia snatched the hard-fought first set 25-23.
Iran bounced back as they bore the support of 8,000 spectators on site and gained more confidence to win the second set 25-20, thanks to effective blocks of captain Taghizadeh. Facing the big pressure opposed by the fans, Malaysia had their nerves begun to fray. They called a timeout while trailing 5-9, but that could not stop the Iran’s onslaught as the host team went on to win the set 25-19.
Backed by the cheering crowds, Iran were trailing in both technical time-outs, but started to gain their momentum to take a narrow 17-16 lead and never looked back after that to claim the set 25-21 and match.
Iran’s head coach Cichello considered the rest-day before the match as a disadvantage as he said after the match: “We lost the first set and this shows disadvantage of taking a rest day. The opposite players of Malaysia did a really great job. We made almost 15 service errors and we have to work on it”.
Iran’s captain Taghizadeh appreciated the supporters at the stadium and said: “Thanks for their great cheers on us and I think our win could make them happy. Malaysia are the surprise of this tournament and they have already been proven that they are one of the strong teams to be reckoned with in this championship.”
Malaysia’s head coach Siong Tay expressed satisfaction over his players’ performance and said: “We trained for almost an half year. Iranians had better tactics and were good at their blocks.”
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