Ardabil, Iran, May 7, 2017 – Formidable Japan pulled off an exceptional 25-18, 25-23, 25-23 victory over fighting Malaysia to become the first team to secure a semi-final berth at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams played quick game, but unbeaten Japan gained the upper hand in combination and defense, particularly their reception and blocks. Malaysia tried their best to find every possible way to attack but the dogged Japanese saved the ball to a comfortable place for counter-attacking. The battle came to a convincing 3-0 clash in favour of Japan.
Issei Otake scored a match-high 18 points from 49 attempts in an efficient way for Japan, while Jian Qin Sim led Malaysia with 13 points.
Japan’s head coach Fumitoshi Tokunaga, determined to see his side overcome reigning champions Iran, said after the match: “Malaysia were good at reception and spikes at this match. Nonetheless, we played much better. I think Japan, Iran, China and Thailand will move up to the semi-finals. We have to wait and see how our destination in this tournament looks like.”
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