SRI LANKA, AUSTRALIA AND MALAYSIA ROCK VICTORY AT MAIN SITE
Tabriz, Iran, July 2, 2018 – Sri Lanka continued unbeaten run at the 12th Asian Men’s U18 Volleyball Championship as the formidable outfits had a brighter prospect after a 3-0 rout of Qatar to take big steps in confronting the Asian powerhouses Iran on Tuesday at Poursharifi Gymnasium.
Chamath Weerappuliga’s 15 points including eleven blocks enabled Sri Lanka to a clean sweep of 25-10, 25-23, 25-13 victory over Qatar.
“My players had so many trainings in their schools with tough matches. I found the new format of tournament fair. If we win all the matches, we can join the top four and this is fair. Our next match will be against Iran. I know it would be hard. Playing in Iran is always difficult. This is my sixth times in Iran. I was here with the senior team of Sri Lanka in the Asian Championship but my first time with the youth team. I know how the crowd can distract us. Even East Asian teams like Japan and Korea faced the similar problem playing Iran as the supporters here strongly cheer the host side,” Sri Lanka head coach Kumara Sisira said.
Kazakhstan had a little problems in demolishing New Zealand in straight sets 25-14, 25-21, 25-21. Mark Istomin top scored with 9 points for Kazakhstan including 6 on attacks, while Reuben Paull led New Zealand with 7 points.
“I knew that we can beat New Zealand as we did a good analysis of their team. To stay on the winning track, we should forget this victory. We have a tough task ahead. My players are really motivated and we deserve to stay among the top four,” Kazakhstan head coach Marat Imangaliyev said.
In the other match, star spiker Connor O’Neill stole the show – delivering a match-high 19 points – as Australia upset Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-16, 30-28, 25-21). His partnership with middle blocker Ethan Garrett – responsible for 16 points of his own – was just too much for Turkmenistan.
Australia dominated the first set to finish it 25-16. Turkmenistan came back stronger in the second set with a winning attitude as they were in some moments ahead but could not control the final points and went down 28-30 in the set. Still, Turkmenistan did not give up and started the third set better to leave Australia behind on two-point clear at 18-16 but the Aussie improved their tactics and took the third set 25-21 for a straight-set win.
Meanwhile, Pakistan brushed off Oman 3-1 (25-17, 26-28, 25-10, 25-15), thanks to the brilliant performance of setter Waleed Khan and the way he distributed the ball among team-mates. Oman had the focus on captain Majid Abdallah Al-Shibli, who earned half of the attacks to entitle the best-scorer of the match.
In the most breathtaking match of the day, Joseph Liang led Malaysia with a match-high 26 points proving the difference in his side’s epic 3-2 (27-25, 25-22, 24-26, 24-26, 18-16) victory over Hong Kong.
Having beaten Turkmenistan and Qatar in straight sets, Malaysia picked up the first two sets against Hong Kong with confidence. Hong Kong kept their slim hope for getting back to the match leading alive by the attacks of Chun Ho Damian Tam (6 points) for a terrific comeback in the third set, which they won 26-24.
Hong Kong gained more confidence and finished the fourth set on a wonderful high 26-24. Malaysia and Hong Kong were locked in a tight contest in the decider, which saw the former win the thrilling tie-breaker 18-16 for an eventual 3-2 victory.
Australia b Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-16, 30-28, 25-21)
Sri Lanka b Qatar 3-0 (25-10, 25-23, 25-13)
Kazakhstan b New Zealand 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-21)
Malaysia b Hong Kong 3-2 (27-25, 25-22, 24-26, 24-26, 18-16)
Pakistan b Oman 3-1 (25-17, 26-28, 25-10, 25-15)
JULY 3, 2018
At Poursharifi Gymnasium
13:30pm – Thailand v Malaysia
16:00pm – Japan v Kazakhstan
18:30pm – Iran v Sri Lanka
At Shahid Aghdami Hall
13:30pm – South Korea v Pakistan
16:00pm – Chinese Taipei v Australia
18:30pm – China v India
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