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China, Qatar to vie for title at Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship

by WoV
source: fivb.org

Defending champions Iran and last year’s runners-up Kazakhstan came out surprised losers of the semifinals while 2011 bronze-medalists China advanced into the final where they will clash with Qatar for the title of the 2012 Asian men’s club volleyball championship here on Sunday.


Shen Qiong successfully blocks a spike by Verigin Oleg

Shanghai Tangdynasty of China turned the tide when they came from one set down to beat strongly favored Kazakhstan 21-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-20, in one hour and 34 minutes, on Saturday. The Chinese national club champion side finished only fourth two years ago and they came out third last year. But now they have ensured at least a second place in this year’s championship, which means they have been one step up on the ladder in three years in a row. Iran were stretched to four sets before bowing out to Asian powers Qatar in what was believed to be the the biggest surprise of this year’s tournament.

The victory comes as a great boost to Qatar as its capital city Doha is to host the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in October this year. The two sides failed to start well in the first set, making numerous errors in serve. But the central Asian team managed to maintain a narrow margin over the hosts and won the set by four points. The Chinese gradually found their normal shape and controlled the rhythm early in the second set.

Fang Yingcao collected two points in a row with tricky serve, with the ball landing right on the line, which inspired the Shanghai team to take the set with a large margin of 10 points. Fully adapted to the Kazakhstan‘s play, China played a flexible game in the third set and powered their way through the set and won the set 25-20 and the match. Chinese team captain Shen Qiong did not even try to hide his happiness. “We have been missing the tournament final for long. Hosting such a tournament has put a huge pressure on us. But eventually we managed to control our game“, he said at post-match press conference. “We played highly spirited volleyball in the last three sets“, said Chinese head coach Wang Jian. Qatar‘s stunning triumph was also of a come-from-behind nature. Iran started well in the first set, with an early 6-2 lead. After the lead changed hands several times, Qatar won seven consecutive points and leveled the score at 22-22. But Iran got an upper hand late in the set and eventually took the set 25-22. Qatar found the rhythm of the game in the second and took the set 27-25. An eager Iranian side became error-trapped in the third set, which in fact helped their Qatar opponents to a 14-6 lead and went on to win the set 25-17. Qatar never let any chance to their opponents in the fourth set and power spikes combined with a solid defence led the Qatar to win the set and the match 3-1.

We carefully studied the video after we lost to Iran during the pool play. Qatar served quite well in their previous game, but we did even better“, said Qatar head coach Mawia Alajnaf. Iranian head coach Atael Behrouz admitted his team had mental problems. “We are stronger than our opponents. But volleyball not only involves physical conditions but also is a mental confrontation. We were not in a good mental state today“, he told press after the defeat. “No matter whom we are to face in the final tomorrow, Iran and Qatar are both strong teams with skilled and tricky play. So we just want to play our volleyball“, said Wang. The Asian men’s club volleyball championship close on Sunday, with the winning team qualified for the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship slated for October 13-19, 2012 in Doha, Qatar.

Sunday’s competition schedule: For 7th to 8th places: India v Japan For 5th to 6th places: Vietnam v Thailand For 3rd to 4th places: Kazakhstan v Iran Championship final: China v Qatar

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