The semi-finals of the Asia Men's Volleyball Championship take place today with Australia, China, South Korea and Iran all hoping to secure a place at the 2012 London Olympics.
Australia powered their way to a 3-1 triumph over Pakistan (25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 25-15) in the quarter-finals of the 16th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at Azadi Hall No. 1 on Tuesday.
Pakistan appeared to have matched Australia’s strength early in the first set as they went on head-to-head with the latter in attacks to keep the score tied at 4-all. It did not take long for Australia to break Pakistan’s run and took the advantage at 8-4 towards the first TTO.
Pakistan had an isolated offense involving Ahmed Naseer to charge in on the Australian defense. Australia, on the other hand, had more attack options that built a commanding lead at 23-16. All starters of Australia have at least scored a point in the set leading to an excellent 25-16 first set victory.
Australia lagged a bit in their attacks in the early stages of the second set allowing Pakistan to take the first crack on the lead onto the first TTO at 8-5. Australia tried to toughen up their block but could not initially break the smart attack plays of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s movement on the attack appeared to be draining their players and allowed Australia’s blocking to finally work.
Both teams exchanged hits and misses that resulted to a close game towards the end but Igor Yudin and Adam White scored on strong spikes for Australia to get ahead at 24-23 and then a block from Andrew Grant finished off the set at 25-23.
Pakistan took an early lead in the third set at 9-1 on a strong attack outing that destabilized Australia’s groundwork for defense. Australia had to go a long way to catch up with the lead of Pakistan but successfully did from Nathan Roberts good attacks from the left side.
Pakistan worked hard on their defense to protect their lead and avoid another Australian comeback. Pakistan prevailed in the third set at 25-22.
Australia have regained their focus in the match and bannered an offensive run that has outdone the Pakistanis at 15-8. Yudin poured in points from both flanks to give Australia enough cushion to take away the win at 25-15.
The Australians will next face China, which crushed India 27-25 25-20 25-20.
The other semi-final match will pit South Korea against host Iran. The South Koreans edged defending champion 25–21 28–30 23–25 25–17 16–14 while the Iranians swept Sri Lanka 25–16 25–18 25–15.
Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship Semi-final Fixtures
13:30 | VOLLEYBALL
Australia v China
16:00 | VOLLEYBALL
South Korea v Iran