Surabaya, Indonesia, August 1, 2017 – Iran, fielding a formidable U23 squad in their final preparation for the forthcoming FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt, took revenge on China with a magnificent come-from-behind four-set victory to secure the fifth place at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium on Tuesday.
For Iran, the dramatic 15-25 25-17 25-23 25-21 victory was a sweet revenge over China, to whom the former successive two-time Asian champions went down in straight -set loss in the top-eight playoff match earlier.
Iran, which lost their Asian crown on home soil two years ago following a bitter 1-3 letdown to Japan in the final clash, had a poor start in this touch match to lose the comfortable first set 15-25. Saeid Javaheri Tavana and Amin Esmaelnejad were the Iran’s strong comeback as both uncorked a barrage of powerful cross-court attacks, successfully blunting the Chinese blocking attempts. Iran took the second set 25-17.
Their confidence back on track following the first-set win, Iran started to produce the goods, with promising Saeid Javaheri showed his exceptional skill in attacking and blocking. China responded with explosive mid-court attacks from Jiang Chuan and Ji Daoshuai, but their good show could not match the Iran’s amazing strength and power. Iran took the close third set 25-23.
The fourth set saw both sides trade attacks from the very beginning, but Iran remained in top form. Taking a commanding 24-20 lead in the set, Iran allowed China one more point before winning the thrilling set 25-21, match and the fifth place.
Saeid Javaheri Tavana scored a match-high 24 points for Iran including 17 kills from 40 attempts and 5 solid blocks. Amin Esmaelnejad contributed 12 points including 11 attack hits. Jiang Chuan led China with 18 points including 14 deadly attacks. Ji Daoshuai added 11 points from 9 kills and 2 aces. Mao Ruantong handed China 4 kill blocks.
With the comeback win, Iran clinched the fifth position from this championship, while China, bronze medallists at the previous edition in Tehran, left the venue disappointed with the sixth place.
“I would like to congratulate my players, staff coaches in my team because we beat one of the most strongest teams in Asia. For our U23 squad, beating a senior team is very important. In the first set, we did a lot of mistakes and a moment later we came up with improved performance, while China made more mistakes than us in the following sets. We now have to go back to prepare our team for the FIVB Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt. I hope my team will do a better job out there,” Iran’s Argentine head coach Juan Manuel Cichello commented.
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