Iran’s second string brushed off Asian winners Japan in comfortable straight set
The convincing 25-10 25-18 25-23 victory has stretched former two-time champions Iran to straight two wins in the one-week tournament. The Iranians next take on title-holders Korea on Saturday to battle it out for the top spot in Pool B.
Japan rested their best player in Yuki Ishikawa, who will join the Top Volley Latina Club in the Italy League next season, in the opening set against mighty Iran, which took an advantage over the Ishikawa’s absence to attack devastatingly for an initial 5-0 lead. Taishi Onodera broke the Japan’s deadlock with his thundering cross-court spike to reduce the gap 1-5. However, the Iran’s impenetrable defence proved too strong for young Japanese rivals. Iran took the lop-sided first set 25-10.
Iran still maintained their splendid form in the second set to lead 11-7 and used their offensive mobility of sharp attacks from Rahman Davoodi, Reza Ghara and powerful Alireza Mobasheri mixed by the rock solid blocks from Masoud Gholami Renani and Rahman Davoodi to claim the set win 25-18.
After going down two straight sets, Japan tried to recover from their dismal performance, Their more determination bore fruits when they narrowed the margin 20-23. A terrific jump serve from Issei Otake won the Japan’s crucial point to come close 21-23, but his second service was erratic. Iran went up to 24-22 and allowed Japan one more point to wrap up the set 25-23 and match.
Alireza Mobasheri led Iran with 14 points including 8 kills, 2 kill blocks and 4 ace serves. Reza Ghara and Rahman Davoodi added with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Raman Davoodi contributed with 4 stuff blocks. Issei Otake tallied 10 points including 8 kills from 19 attempts for Japan.
“The difference between our match against Australia on Thursday and against Japan today is we learned the Japan’s game before and we could prepare ourselves well for the match against Japan. We come here without playing any friendly match. So, playing here in this tournament helps us improve our teamwork and coordination to become a better team in the near future. We respect the Japanese team because they are hard-working and always come up with fighting spirit. They are a young team with a promising future and we hope they will be successful in their programs. However, I think although (Yuki) Ishikawa joined the Japanese in this match against us, they would make us just a little bit difficult and we, of course, would try to win the match. Against Korea on Saturday, we have a better information on Korea and now we can make a good game plan against Korea. We are working as a team. We have a technical staff, assistants and medical staff and that’s why we can play 100% to give the team a better step towards our future success. We will have a tough match against Korea and we have to prepare our physical and mental recovery for tomorrow (Saturday) because we know that we will have a difficult match against Korea,” Iran’s head coach Shahnazi Naser commented after the match.