CHINA OVERWHELM IRAN IN TOTALLY ONE-SIDED BATTLE TO ENTER SEMI-FINALS
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 19, 2018 – Title-holders China saw off Iran in a completely lopsided clash 25-11 25-12 25-16 to storm into the semi-finals of the 6th AVC Cup for Women at the Chartchai Hall here.
Liu Yanhan led China with 15 points including 11 kills from 21 attempts and 3 aces, while Neda Chamianian contributed 9 points for Iran.
China, the only team which have yet lost a set to their respective rivals heading to the Wednesday’s quarter-finals, sent a strong squad to the tournament including five players who joined the China national senior team for this year’s VNL led by hard-attacking Liu Yanhan and the 194cm Gao Yi, while Iran were a full national senior team led by Maedeh Borhani Esfahani and Mahsa Saberi.
China attacked right from the first whistle. With Liu Yanhan troubling the rivals with her exceptional spikes and Gao Yi, coupled with Zhang Yichan, producing solid blocks, China raced to a 13-6 lead and widened the margin to 17-9 as Iran dropped from their usually best and became error-strewn. China took the one-sided set 25-11.
The Chinese started the second set strongly as Iran managed to keep composure to level at 5-5. However, it wasn’t enough for the Iranians to hold off the indomitable giants as China clawed back into game. Liu Yanhan, Wang Meiyi and Zhang Yichan took turns tearing the Iranian defence apart with their devastating attacks to stretch it to 19-10. Iran tried hard to bring their game back on track, but their attempts were in vain. With the wind in their sails, China sealed the deal with another lopsided 25-12 win.
Both teams fought tooth and nails in the third set, but China continued their exceptional form. After leading a narrow 14-18 lead, China still came up with consistency and confidence. Though playing without key player Liu Yanhan in this set, Duan Fang, who was called in to replace Liu, proved well a major force to be reckoned with. She attacked some vital points for the eventual 25-16 win in the set.
“We played well according to our game plan. The next match will be much tougher for us because we have to play Thailand, one of the strongest teams in this tournament. We will do our best,” China head coach Shi Hairong said after the match.
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