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August 11, 2019

3rd Asian Men’s U-23 Volleyball C’ship: India hand Pakistan 3-1 defeat in semis


August 11, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan faltered badly as they were comprehensively downed by India 3-1 in the semifinal of the 3rd Asian Men’s Under-23 Volleyball Championships at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Saturday.

Going into the game following six successive wins it was highly expected that Pakistan would be able to conquer India but it did not happen despite having taken 1-0 lead in the high-voltage game.

Led by Fahad Reza, the Green-shirts had a good start when they lifted the first 25-21 to give a message to arch-rivals India that it was not easy to stop them from qualifying for the final. But it did not happen at all. In the first set Pakistan’s attack was superb. After losing the first set India regrouped quite well, forcing Pakistan to make constant mistakes. India won it quite convincingly 25-16 to bring the parity.

In the third set a gruelling fight was witnessed with both sides putting their best to down each other. But again India kept an upper hand and sealed the set 25-22 to take 2-1 lead. India kept their glorious run intact and also won the fourth set quite convincingly 25-18 to wrap-up a solid victory. Former Pakistan captain Naseer Ahmed said Pakistan had issue in their serves. “Pakistan served quite slowly and this is the major cause of our downfall,” Naseer told ‘The News’ after the Green-shirts first loss in the 16-team event.

“When you serve slowly it is always difficult to obstruct the attacks of the oppositions. Service is the first attack,” said Naseer, who remained Pakistan’s skipper for ten long years. Naseer also pointed out that Murad should not have been changed. “Murad was playing very well and he should have been continued in the third set,” he said. “India were also equally balanced team and when oppositions catch rhythm then it is always difficult to break that. But the way Pakistan played with the rhythm throughout the event was outstanding and they should have beaten India,” he said.

Meanwhile in the other semifinal Chinese Taipei defeated Japan 3-2 with the set score of 25-20, 25-17, 16-25, 15-25 and 19-17. Pakistan now on Sunday (today) will face Japan in the bronze medal clash.

India will meet Chinese Taipei in the final. Naseer was quite hopeful of Pakistan’s win over Japan. “There is 90 percent chance that Pakistan will be able to win bronze medal,” Naseer said.

Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) Secretary Shah Naeem Zafar was not happy with the outcome. “It has been a bad day for us. It’s part of the game. We should now focus on bronze medal fight. We have good chance of finishing third,” Shah told this correspondent.

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