Iran beats Japan to stay in course for title
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, fivb.com 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.
fivb.com 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.