ATYRAU, ARDAKAN SET UP FINAL CLASH OF THE TITANS AT ASIAN MEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 5, 2018 – Atyrau will strut their stuff in the final showdown of the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium Hall B, seeking a revenge match against Khatam Ardakan, the team they lost in the pool plays earlier.
In the Sunday’s semi-finals, Atyrau from Kazakhstan survived the WAPDA’S scare to beat the Pakistani side in thrilling tie-breaker 14-25 32-30 25-16 18-25 15-11, while Iran’s Ardakan had little problems in thrashing Vietnam’s Sanest Khanh Hoa in exciting three-setter 25-18 25-23 25-19.
Aibat Netalin yielded 23 points for Atyrau, all of them from destructive attacks, while Oleh Shevchenko added 15 points. Murad Jehan chipped in 20 points for WAPDA, assisted by Aimal Khan with 18 points.
Against undefeated WAPDA, Atyrau fielded a strong lineup including two Ukrainians, Roman Khandrolin and Oleh Shevchenko, while the rivals were strengthened by scoring machine Aimal Khan.
“It was a very difficult match for us because some of my players got injuries. However, I expected earlier that this match would end in five sets. WAPDA played Toray Arrows in five sets and I think we should face the same situations. It was not an easy task because most of them are Pakistan national team players. We will try to beat Ardakan in the final match as a sweet revenge since we lost to them before in the pool plays. It’s our aim to beat the Iranians for the Asian title,” said Atyrau head coach Sergey Trikoz.
For Atyrau, the 2018 edition is their third appearance in the Asian Men’s Club Championship, which they claimed two bronze medals in 2002 and 2004. Furthermore, the Monday’s final showdown in Nay Pyi Taw will be the fifth time Kazakhstan have reached. In the past four finals, only Rahat CSKA captured the Asian Men’s Club in 2005, while the remaining three were silver medals consisting one from Rahat CSKA and two from Almaty.
Meanwhile, hot-favourites Khatam Ardakan stopped the remarkable unbeaten run of Sanest Khanh Hoa in straight sets.
Shahram Mahmoudi scored a team-high 14 points for Ardakan including 9 attacks from 19 attempts, while Adel Gholami added 11 points. Tran Trien Chieu chipped in with 11 points for the losing side.
“Vietnam are a good team fighting for every ball and they have a good teamwork. They came up with good serves and were successful in combination and attacks. They played better than us in the second set, but when we lost our rhythm, I told my players that they are more experienced and could beat the rivals. My players believed in what I told them and that’s what counts for the win. In the final clash, we will play either Kazakhstan or Pakistan. Both teams are strong sides heading to semi-finals. However, I think we are stronger team. We have players from the Iran national team and our players competed in several major tournaments before. We set our sights on winning the Asian title and we will fight for every point in the final,” Ardakan head coach Abbasali Mirhosseini commented after the match.
Ardakan, the team finishing second in the Iranian Volleyball Super League in the latest season, made their debut effort in the Asian Men’s Club Championship a success to enter the final clash for the first time, but the 15th final of Iran. Among the past 14 finals, Iran have already won 12 Asian Club titles including 7 from Paykan Tehran and 2 from Sarmayeh Bank.
Earlier in the playoffs, hosts Asia World Club, spearheaded by talented Aung Thu, pulled off a stunning 3-0 (25-20 25-18 25-20) victory over error-strewn Sichuan to finish 11th in this top-tier championship, leaving the winless Chinese team to return disappointed with the 12th position.
The 9th-10th playoff saw Australia’s Canberra Heat cruise to a 3-0 (25-11 25-22 25-17) victory over Yanchai from Hong Kong, while Thailand’s Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC survived a sturdy challenge from Long Power to overpower the Chinese Taipei side in hard-fought five-set thriller 25-18 24-26 21-25 25-20 21-19 in the 5th-8th playoff. Nakhonratchasima will go up against Japan’s Toray Arrows, which pulled off a dramatic 3-1 (25-20 19-25 25-20 25-21) win over Sri Lanka’s Lanka Lions, to battle it out for the 5th position. Long Power and Lanka Lions face off in the 7th-8th playoff.
11th-12th playoff: Asia World Club (Myanmar) b Sichuan (China) 3-0 (25-20 25-18 25-20)
9th-10th playoff: Canberra Heat (Australia) b Yanchai (Hog Kong) 3-0 (25-11 25-22 25-17)
5th-8th playoff: Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC (Thailand) b Long Power (Chinese Taipei) 3-2 (25-18 24-26 21-25 25-20 21-19; Toray Arrows (Japan) b Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka) 3-1 (25-20 19-25 25-20 25-21)
Semi-finals: Khatam Adakan (Iran) b Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-18 25-23 25-19); Atyrau (Kazakhstan) b WAPDA (Pakistan) 3-2 (14-25 32-30 25-16 18-25 15-11)
11.00am: 7th-8th: Long Power (Chinese Taipei) v Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka)
13.30pm: 5th-6th: Nakhonratchasima v Toray Arrows (Japan)
16.00pm: Third-place playoff: Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam) v WAPDA (Pakistan)
18.30pm: Championship match: Khatam Ardakan (Iran) v Atyrau (Kazakhstan)
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