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Iran, Japan and China remain unbeaten at Asian Men's U23 Championship

 
Ardabil, Iran, May 4, 2017 – Reigning champions Iran, Japan and China remain unbeaten at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium, with Iran and China setting up a clash on Friday to decide the Pool E winners.

Thailand hand Chinese Taipei first loss
Thailand, who finished a disappointing 7th place at the previous edition in Myanmar two years ago, recovered from losing the first two sets 19-25 22-25 to Pool B winners Chinese Taipei to win the remaining three sets 25-20 25-18 15-12 over the 2015 Asian U23 Championship bronze medallists, in an encounter which lasted two hours.

Thailand head coach Monchai Supajirakul said: “We suffered on the first-ball problem and poor reception. However, making use of player rotation and better substitutions, we came up with improved performance from the third set onwards.”

Thailand will face Kazakhstan in their last playoff match of the round of last eight teams in Pool F on Friday.

Iran come from behind to beat Malaysia in four sets
Hosts and defending champions Iran overcame a strong challenge from Malaysia in the opening set, which they lost 23-25, to capture the remaining three sets 25-20 25-19 25-21 to stay on course in the competition.

Contesting Pool E, Iran started the match aggressively. Malaysia adapted, coping well with the Iranian tactics to win the opening set 25-23. Iran bounced back in front of about 8,000 spectators on site and gained more confidence to win the second set 25-20, thanks to captain Rahman Taghizadeh’s fine blocks. Iran stormed on to win the next two sets 25-19 and 25-21 for an eventual 3-1 win over the gallant Malaysians.

Iran next go up against China in a match to determine the Pool E winners on Friday.

China down Pakistan 3-1 to battle it out against Iran
China, led by Liu Zhihao with his scintillating blocks, suffered a first-set loss 18-25 to Pakistan, but came out in full strength to win three sets in a row 25-18 25-11 25-14 for an impressive 3-1 victory over theit rivals in the playoff encounter at the round of last eight teams in Pool E.

Pakistan performed superbly in the first set to beat China 25-18, but the Chinese played more consistently and roared back with mighty attacks and solid blocks to sweep the remaining three sets without much effort 25-18 25-11 25-14.

Japan see off Kazakhstan in one-sided battle
In the last match on Day 4, formidable Japan maintained their unbeaten record with 3-0 (25-17 25-17 25-17) defeat of Kazakhstan in Pool F.

Japan head coach Fumitoshi Tokunaga said after the match: “We analysed five tall players of Kazakhstan who became a serious threat for us in this match and our efforts worked out pretty well. We next take on Chinese Taipei, one of the strong teams with excellent combination and solid defence. We will try our best to beat them.”

Sri Lanka beat Uzbekistan in tie-breaker
In the first match earlier, Sri Lanka claimed a hard-fought 3-2 (20-25, 16-25, 26-24, 28-26, 16-14) win over Uzbekistan in their playoff match in the 9th-11th classification round.

Thursday’s results
Sri Lanka b Uzbekistan 3-2 (20-25,16-25, 26-24, 28-26,16-14)
Thailand b Chinese Taipei 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-12)
Iran b Malaysia 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21)
China b Pakistan 3-1 (18-25, 25-18, 25-11, 25-14)
Japan v Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-17)

Match Schedule
Friday, May 5, 2017
Pakistan v Malaysia
Kazakhstan v Thailand
Iran v China
Japan v Chinese Taipei
Australia v Sri Lanka

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