Italy advance to semifinals with 3-0 blitz over Iran
Italy gained their seventh entry to the Olympic semifinals, following their 3-0 (31-29, 25-19, 25-17) victory over Iran in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s volleyball quarterfinals at Maracanazinho on Wednesday.
The Italians have been in the Olympic semifinals for six times and have won a total of five medals, including two silver medals and three bronze medals.
Three Italian players scored in double-figures, led by Ivan Zaytsev, who tallied 18 points. Osmany Juantorena and Filippo Lanza contributed 16 and 11 points, respectively.
The Iranian hitters were held to score in single digits. Shahram Mahmoudi led Iran with eight markers, then Adel Gholami and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour had seven points each.
Italy and Iran fought hard to the end of the opening set, enduring successive deadlocks and lead changes. The outcome remained unclear as both sides traded errors from the service line that extended the set. Juantorena saw an open space in the Iranian court and slammed a strong cross-court hit that helped his side level the score at 28-all. He succeeded on two more swings going to the same direction, until Birarelli’s block sealed the set for Italy 31-29.
Both teams picked up where they left off and challenged each other with powerful swings. Filippo Lanza gave Italy a slim lead 16-15 that opened an opportunity for Juantorena to get more involved in scoring. The Italians safeguarded their lead and pulled away for the second set victory 25-19.
Italy led by as much as two points at the start of the second set, then Zaytsev, Juantorena and Lanza engaged in the attack barrage that stretched their lead to 13-8. Italy kept their strong pace and reached set point with an eight-point cushion, until Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani committed a service mistake to concede the set 25-17.