Ninh Binh, Vietnam, July 4, 2017 – Reigning champions Sarmayeh Bank of Iran pulled off a comfortable 3-1 (25-12 25-13 23-25 25-16) win over Al-Bahri to set up the last year’s final rematch with Al Arabi, as Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza will challenge unbeaten Altay in the semi-finals of the SMM 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Ninh Binh Gymnasium on Wednesday.
The top-tier competition reached its climax on Tuesday when the top eight teams played their crucial match in the quarter-finals to decide the four winning teams for the do-or-die semi-finals. Only the eventual winners in this annual tournament will qualify for the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship as the Asia’s representatives.
In the Tuesday’s quarter-finals, Sarmayeh Bank upset Al-Bahri of Iraq in four setter 25-12 25-13 23-25 25-16 to become the first team to get through to the semi-finals.
“We did not have a tough game against Al-Bahri. But in the third set, I just wanted to give my players from the bench a chance to play more. I am very happy that we get through to the semi-finals. However, our Wednesday’s match in the semi-finals will be much tougher and we will do our best to secure a place in the final showdown,” Sarmayeh Bank’s head coach Mostafa Karkhaneh commented after the match.
Sarmayeh Bank will next take on Al Arabi Sports Club of Qatar, the team they had beaten 3-1 in the final showdown of the previous edition in Myanmar last year. Al Arabi on Tuesday saw off Taichung Commercial Bank from Chinese Taipei in straight sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-16.
“In our semi-final match against Iran, of course it is going to be a very tough match. However, we are ready to fight all-out to win the championship no matter which team we will face,” said Al Arabi SC’s head coach Lajenef Maaouia.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Altay VC advanced to the semi-finals after a 3-0 (25-19 25-22 25-14) demolition of Beijing Baic Motor. Against the Chinese team, Altay VC, led by two Ukrainians Vasyl Tupchii and Alexandr Stolnikov, shone through their spectacular attacks, foiling the rivals’ high blocking efforts. After winning the first two hard-fought sets 25-19, 25-22, the Kazakhs exploded their mighty attacks for the comfortable third set win 25-14 and match.
The Altay’s next challenge will be a daunting task against Japan’s Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza, which performed superbly on Tuesday to put it past hosts Vietnam Sports Club in straight sets 25-19, 25-20, 25-21.
“Vietnam Sports Club have something that no other team in this tournament has. They take a home crowd advantage. Therefore, it definitely wasn’t easy for us. But I am very happy that we finally won the match,” Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza’s Finnish head coach Tommi Tillikainen commented after the match.
“Tomorrow is a new day and a big game. I don’t think it is going to be an easy match for us in the tournament like this. But we will enjoy the match. We will have to be fresh mentally and physically. I am really so excited about our semi-final match. We will try our best to win the match,” he added.
Meanwhile, the 9th-12th playoff matches at the Nam Dinh Gymnasium on Tuesday saw Canberra Heat from Australia struggle hard to beat Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club in hard-fought five sets 26-24 22-25 25-17 21-25 15-12, while Air Force VC of Thailand) brushed off Sri Lanka Ports Authority in straight sets 25-17 25-23 27-25.
On Wednesday, Air Force and Canberra Heat will fight it out for the 9th position, while Maldivian Sports & Recreation will meet Sri Lanka Ports Authority in the 11th-12th playoff encounter.
At Ninh Binh Gymnasium
Altay VC (Kazakhstan) b Beijing Baic Motor (China) 3-0 (25-19 25-22 25-14)
Sarmayeh Bank (Iran) b Al-Bahri Sport Club (Iraq) 3-1 (25-12 25-13 23-25 25-16)
Al Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) b Taichung Commercial Bank (Chinese Taipei) 3-0 (25-19 25-22 25-16)
Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan) b Vietnam Sports Club (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-19 25-20 25-21)
At Nam Dinh Gymnasium
9th-12th playoffs: Canberra Heat (Australia) b Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club (Maldives) 3-2 (26-24 22-25 25-17 21-25 15-12); Air Force VC (Thailand) b Sri Lanka Ports Authority (Sri Lanka) 3-0 (25-17 25-23 27-25)
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
At Ninh Binh Gymnasium
12.30pm: 5th-8th: Al-Bahri Sport Club (Iraq) v Taichung Commercial Bank (Chinese Taipei)
3pm: 5th-8th: Beijing Baic Motor (China) v Vietnam Sports Club (Vietnam)
5.30pm: Semi-finals: Altay VC (Kazakhstan) v Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan)
8pm: Semi-finals: Sarmayeh Bank (Iran) v Al Arabi Sports Club (Qatar)
At Nam Dinh Gymnasium
5.30pm: 11th-12th: Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club (Maldives) v Sri Lanka Ports Authority (Sri Lanka)
8pm: 9th-10th: Canberra Heat (Australia) v Air Force VC (Thailand)
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