Surabaya, Indonesia, July 29, 2017 – Powerhouses Iran claimed their crucial win at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship as the former successive two-time Asian champions cruised their way past tall Australia in four sets 25-11 25-19 22-25 25-17 to top Pool F after their second top-eight playoff encounter at the Tri Dharma Peutrokimia Gymnasium on Saturday.
Iran, current world No.7 and the only Asian team to contest the FIVB World League Group 1 this season but fielding a strong U23 side this time, opened up aggressively in the first set, with strongly-built Amin Esmaeilinejad tearing the Australian defence into pieces for the Iran’s one-sided 25-11 win.
The second set became the similar script as Iran still dominated the game, making use of their powerful attacks and effective blocks for the comfortable set 25-19.
Holding a 2-0 advantage, Iran continued their good show in the third set. Saeid Javaheri Tavana and Sahand Allahverdian performed brilliantly in their blocking efforts. However, the Australians just kept up the pressure and came up with improved tactics and techniques to prove that their straight-set win over China in the first round Pool D was no fluke. The Aussies won the hard-fought set 25-22 to trail 1-2.
The fourth set turned out to be a lop-sided battle again when Iran led from the start to finish for the set win 25-17 and the eventual 3-1 victory
Amin Esmaeilnejad led Iran with 15 points from 13 kills and 2 aces. Salim Cheperli contributed 11 kills and one ace. Saeid Javaheri Tavana and Sahand Allahverdian blocked well to hand Iran 6 and 5 points respectively. Williams Lincoln topscored with 17 points for Australia.
“I’m very happy for the fact that my team are the U23 squad, while Australia are the senior side which have already clinched a ticket to the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship. One week ago, we came here just to gain experience and today we played a very good match. We are now preparing for our next match tomorrow against Indonesia. It will be a very difficult match because the Indonesians have their home crowds to support them. I hope we can do our best again,” said Iran’s Argentine head coach Juan Manuel Cichello.
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