Volleyball News

Ardabil, Iran, May 5, 2017 – Two unbeaten teams Iran and Japan still keep their semi-final hopes alive, as the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship will reach its climax on Sunday with the last eight teams playing a must-win match in the quarter-finals at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium.

Pakistan stunned Malaysia in straight sets

Pakistan tasted their first victory at this top-notch championship following their dramatic 3-1 (23-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-21) win over Malaysia on Friday.

Pakistan’s team manager Sardar Muhammad Nawaz Khan said after the match: “I have a good team here. We could have beaten China the previous day, but my players just lost to the big name of China. If we play Iran again, the match result can be 60-40 in favour of Iran as I am the only person in this stadium who can clap for my team and Iran have so many passionate fans. The reason why we lost the first set of this match against Malaysia was just because of our setter’s mistakes. Fortunately, we regained our form and teamwork to eventually beat the Malaysians.”

Thailand continued their dazzling form with 3-1 win over Kazakhstan
Thailand, led by talented Anuchit Pakdeekaew with scintillating blocks, survived a strong challenge from Kazakhstan to beat them in thrilling four sets 25-22, 25-17, 17-25, 25-22.

Thailand’s head coach Monchai Supajirakul said: “As Kazakhstan fielded their tall players, we had to show our solid blocks to foil their attacking attempts.”

Iran stopped China’s unbeaten run

Iran brushed off China in a lop-sided match 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-18) to stop the strong visitors’ remarkable undefeated record. The match started before a large crowd of around 8,000 Iranian fans.

China found the host side too strong to go down tamely in the first two sets 18-25, 15-25. They tried to stage a comeback attempt in the third set when the Iranians became more prone with unforced mistakes caused by their growing pressure playing in front of the huge home crowds. However, Iran still played cool under pressure to lead 18-14 and never looked back since then to capture the set 25-18 and match.

Iran’s head coach Juan Cichello said after the match: “China had 50 kill blocks in their last three matches but in this match against Iran, they performed only two kill blocks against us. This is why we won this match against the Chinese. We continue to learn in every match we are playing because our goal is to prepare these young players for senior level competitions in the future.”

China’s head coach Zhang Qiyong found both teams strong and said: “Iran were better today and the great supports of the Iranian fans were also incredible.”

Undefeated Japan thrashed Chinese Taipei in straight sets
Powerhouses Japan had a a field day on Friday when they pulled off a comfortable straight-set 25-23, 25-18, 25-16 win over Chinese Taipei.

Yuki Suzuki led Japan with 15 points. Japan’s head coach Fumitoshi Tokunaga found the opposite spikers of Chinese Taipei the only problem that his players had to deal with and said: “We were better in reception. We will do our best to beat Malaysia in the quarter-finals on Sunday.”

Australia finished 11th at the Asian Men’s U23 Championship

Australia finished 11th place as they succumbed the straight-set 22-25, 19-25, 21-25 defeat at the hands of Uzbekistan on Friday. Australia did their best to maintain their momentum, but Uzbekistan proved steadier and did not allow them any opportunity for the fightback. Australia lost the first two sets 22-25 19-25 and tried to pull their game together in the third, but Uzbekistan fared better to win the set 25-21 and match.

The best-scorer of Australia, Arshdeep Dosanjh, said: “Australia have so many great players at this age group. They are not in this tournament as they were committed to their clubs in Europe. So, in the future we will appear with better performance.”

Uzbekistan’s head coach Karimjan Rakhimkulov said: “We will do our best to snatch the 9th place in this tournament. We will put Sri Lanka to the limit on Sunday. Actually, I think that we should have finished the 6th position but unfortunately, we were not able to play in full measure.”


At the end of the playoff matches at the round of the last eight teams on Friday, Iran topped Pool E, with 9 points from three straight wins, followed by China with 6 points from two wins against one loss. Pakistan came in third place with 3 points from one win against two losses and winless Malaysia finished fourth in the pool.

Unbeaten Japan claimed the top spot in Pool F with 8 points, while Thailand came in second place with 6 points from two wins against one loss. Chinese Taipei finished third with 3 points from one win against two losses and winless Kazakhstan came in fourth place in Pool F.

Saturday is the rest day. The championship, the Asia’s qualification round from which the top two teams will make the cut for the 2017 FIVB Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt from August 18-26, resumes on Sunday in the quarter-finals, with Iran taking on Kazakhstan, Thailand challenging Pakistan, Malaysia going up against Japan and China facing Chinese Taipei.

The four winning teams in the knock-out round will advance to the semi-finals, with the four losers relegated to the 5th-8th classification round.

Pakistan b Malaysia 3-1 (23-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-21)
Thailand b Kazakhstan 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 17-25, 25-22)
Iran b China 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-18)
Japan b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-16)
Uzbekistan b Australia 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21)

Sunday, May 7, 2017
Classification round
9th-10th place playoff: Sri Lanka v Uzbekistan

Malaysia v Japan
Thailand v Pakistan
Iran v Kazakhstan
China v Chinese Taipei


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