Manila - Iran upended the inspired play of former four-time champion Korea with a five-set win in Sundayís 15th Asian Senior Menís Volleyball Championship at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
Egged on by Iranian supporters at the venue, Iran displayed composure as it rallied from a 1-2 deficit by winning the final two sets of their semifinal matchup for a 24-26, 25-20, 26-28, 25-17, 15-11 victory and a place in the finals.
The match lasted for two hours and four minutes with Iran leaning on the solid performances of Mohammad Mohammadkazem, Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi, Hamzeh Zarini and Farhad Nazari Afshar.
Mohammadkazem delivered 20 of his team-high 21 hits on kills while Eraghi stood out on defense with nine blocks. Zarini added 14 kills leading to 16 hits while Nazari Afshar came away with 12 hits as Iran made it to the finals for the first time.
The previous best showing for the Iranian team, which remains undefeated in this tournament, was a third place finish during the 2003 edition. In the last staging held two years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia, the team settled for fifth place.
It was a sorry loss for Korea, proud owners of four titles that came in 1989, 1993, 2001 and 2003.
Kim Yo-han gave his very best with 31 kills and one service ace for a leading 32 points but their defense failed to clamp down on the Iranians in the deciding set.
Waiting for their finals opponent
Iran will play either six-time champion Japan or three-time champion China in the finals. The Japanese and the Chinese spikers were disputing the second finals berth in their own side of the semis late Sunday.
The finals will be played Monday night also at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The loser of Japan-China game will play Korea for third place.
Kazakhstan and Southeast Asian champion Indonesia, meanwhile, sealed a showdown for fifth place by disposing of Australia and Chinese Taipei, respectively.
Kazakhstan needed five sets to get past deposed champion Australia, 17-25, 25-21, 13-25, 25-22, 15-11, while Indonesia rode high on their fourth set victory to pull off a 25-18, 20-25, 19-25, 27-25, 15-9 decision against Taipei.
Taipei and Australia will be playing for seventh and eighth places
Source : GMA News - TV Philippines
October 05, 2009