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Asian Men's U23 Championship reaches quarterfinal stage in Iran

 
Ardabil, Iran, May 3, 2017 - Hosts Iran, Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, China and Malaysia claimed spots in the last eight teams at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship on Wednesday. The top two teams will earn berths at the FIVB Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship in Egypt from August 18 to 25.

Thailand secure quarterfinal berth after 3-1 win over Sri Lanka
Thailand overcame Sri Lanka at the Rezazadeh Stadium in a fantastic comeback 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18) victory over their rivals.

Thailand struggled to stop Sri Lanka in the first set. Sri Lanka also began the second set well leading 3-0, but Thailand coach Monchai Supajirakul's men hit back superbly to claim the set and match. The win handed Thailand second place in Pool D and a berth in the quarterfinals.

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Coach Monchai said Thailand had lost the first set because “the match was crucial for both sides. Sri Lanka and Thailand went all-out for the same thing - victory. That’s why the match was so close.”

Thai captain Mawin Maneewong added: “On Wednesday, we were tired after playing a five-set match against Japan and we were still tired in this match against Sri Lanka, to whom we lost in the first set.”
 
Pusit Phonarin, who played only the first two sets, led Thailand with 17 points.

Chinese Taipei beat Kazakhstan to top Pool B

Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan, who had already confirmed their spots in the quarterfinals on the second day of the tournament, after both sides brushed off Uzbekistan in their pool preliminaries, battled it out on Wednesday to decide the Pool B winners. Chinese Taipei fared better to beat their towering rivals in straight sets 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-23).

Pool B winners Chinese Taipei will next take on Pool D’s runners-up Thailand on Thursday.
 
Chinese Taipei head coach Yu Ching-Fang said Kazakhstan were a tough team to play: “We did not analyse them before the match and that’s why it was difficult for us to match them tactically. However, I’m still happy that we eventually beat them. We next play Thailand and I hope my players will do their best against the Thais. We have to beat them and try to progress to the semifinals.”

China pull off dramatic 3-1 win over Australia
China overcame Australia 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 25-22), helping make a dream come true for Malaysia as they now a get a chance to play in the quarterfinals. Malaysia earlier stunned Australia, but went down to China and had to wait for the result of the match between China and Australia to see if they would progress to the next stage. With China’s victory over Australia, Malaysia now play in the quarters.

Australia’s head coach Benjamin Hardy, who took part in two Olympic Games and four FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championships, brought a wealth of experience to his team. “My players are getting together from different parts of the world as some of them were in Canada and some others from Europe. Generally speaking, I am satisfied with their performance as their attitude improved in this match,” he said.

China’s head coach Zhang Qiyong said the match against Australia had been difficult. “The level of matches here is so high. China are always tough for each team. Yet, my players are so young and inexperienced and still need more time to learn.”

At the end of the pool preliminary round matches on Wednesday, Iran top Pool A with three points from one win over losers Pakistan. However, both teams qualify for the quarters. Chinese Taipei lead Pool B with five points from two straight wins, followed by Kazakhstan with two points from one win against one loss. Uzbekistan came in third place with two points from two straight losses.

China topped Pool C with six points from two wins in a row, while Malaysia finished second with three points from one win against one loss. Winless Australia came in third place with two straight losses. Japan claimed the top spot in Pool D with five points from two straight wins, while Thailand finished second with four points from one win against one loss and Sri Lanka finished third with no points from two straight losses.

The playoff matches are due to be held on Thursday. Iran will take on Malaysia and China will challenge Pakistan in Pool E, while Pool F sees Chinese Taipei take on Thailand and Japan play Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan will face Sri Lanka in their first match in the classification round.

Wednesday’s Results

Thailand b Sri Lanka 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18)
Chinese Taipei b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-23)
China b Australia 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 25-22)

Match Schedule
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Chinese Taipei v Thailand
Iran v Malaysia
Pakistan v China
Japan v Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan v Sri Lanka

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