Iran earn one point from the host Vietnam in AVC Cup
Embattled Vietnam pulled off a hard-fought five-set 27-25 22-25 21-25 25-20 15-12 victory over fast-improving Iran to taste their first win in the Pool A preliminaries at the “SMM” 5th AVC Cup for Women at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Iran, fresh from taking the fifth position at the recent Asian Women’s Club Championship in the Philippines following a sensational 3-0 win over Vietnam’s Thongtin Lien Viet Post Bank in the 5th-6th playoff, fielded their strong line-up which beat the Vietnamese club. With hefty Maedeh Borhani being the mainstay, the Iran’s formidable line-up also included Mahsa Saberi, Zainab Giveh, Negin Shirtari and Farnoosh Sheikhi, while the host team were powered by the 187cm-tall Tran Thi Thanh Thuy and Doan Thi Xuan.
On a day when a large number of Vietnamese fans thronged into the competition hall to attend the opening ceremony and give their team morale boost in the curtain-raisers against the strong oppositions, Iran made a strong start, with Maedeh Borhani overcoming the Vietnamese blockers with her sharp attacks to help her team take an early 8-4 lead. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy was the Vietnam’s comeback as she unleashed a series of mighty spikes for the home’s 14-14 tie. From then on, Vietnam mixed the offensive combination of powerful attacks from Pham Thi Kim Hue and Tran Thi Thanh Thuy with solid blocks by Doan Thi Xuan and Nguyen Thi Hogn Dao to hand Vietnam a hard-fought 27-25 win in a closely-contested first set.
In the second set, Vietnam briefly gained the upper hand to lead 16-14, but Iran roared back when Maedeh attacked devastatingly at the pole and Mahsa produced sliding attacks to catch up with the Iranians at 22-21 and stormed on to win the set 25-22.
The third set turned out to be the similar fashion when both sided traded points from the very beginning of the close battle. The visitors proved steadier to take the thrilling set 25-21.
Boosted by a large crowd of home audience, Vietnam performed superbly in the fourth set to race to a 5-0 lead before stretching it to 8-2 and 15-6, thanks to their excellent teamwork. Iran rested their players with the second string and they cruised their way to come near at 14-20. However, Vietnam made short work of the visitors to win the set 25-20.
In the decider, both sides came out in full strength, but Vietnam fared much better at the final assault to win the set 15-12 and match.
Pham Thi Kim Hue scored a match-high 18 points for Vietnam including 16 kills from 34 attempts, while Sheikhi Farnoosh led Iran with 18 points.