Iran beats Ja­pan to stay in course for ti­tle

Iran Daily - - Sports -

Amir Ghafour topped all scor­ers with 23 points to boost Iran’s 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-14) win over Ja­pan in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Cham­pi­ons Cup at the Osaka Mu­nic­i­pal Cen­tral Gym­na­sium on Satur­day.

Ghafour had a solid per­for­mance from the at­tack line as he scored 21 spikes, which went along with his con­tri­bu­tion in de­fense with two stuff blocks, re­ported.

Iran had a to­tal of 13 blocks, in­clud­ing Sa­man Faezi’s four and Seyed Mo­hammed Mousavi’s three. Is­sei Otake and Ak­i­hiro Ya­mauchi led Ja­pan with 16 and 11 points, re­spec­tively.

Iran and Ja­pan most re­cent meet­ing at world level was in 2016, when Iran beat its op­po­nent in four sets in the Olympics qual­i­fier. In their third en­counter at the World Grand Cham­pi­ons Cup, Iran won again with the same score line of 3-1.

Ja­pan played a fast-paced game against its Asian ri­val Iran in the open­ing set. As Masahiro Yanagida strug­gled on of­fence, set­ter Naonobu Fu­jii set up mas­ter­ful plays for his other hit­ters, which re­sulted to a bril­liant 25-21 first-set win.

Ira­ni­ans, how­ever, coun­tered with solid blocks and strong spikes that re­warded them with the win. By the third set, Iran al­ready es­tab­lished its ground on of­fence and de­fense that made it dif­fi­cult for the host to over­come.

The vic­tory puts Iran third in the ta­ble next to Brazil and Italy to give the Asian gi­ant the slight­est of hopes of win­ning the ti­tle when all teams play the last round of the com­pe­ti­tion to­day where Iran faces France, Italy meets the US and Brazil squares off with the host Ja­pan. Iran’s Amir Ghafour (R) spikes against Ja­pan’s de­fen­sive duo in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Cham­pi­ons Cup in Osaka, Ja­pan, on Septem­ber 16, 2017.

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